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Lenovo, Google Learn To Tango

The world’s first smartphone equipped with Google’s Tango technology arrives unlocked in September at $499 along with multiple apps that leverage Tango’s motion-tracking, depth-sensing and augmented-realty (AR) capabilities.

Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro phablet with 6.4-inch Quad HD display uses Tango software and sensors to track motion, determine the size and shape of rooms and cabinet-space openings, and create on-the-fly maps of building interiors for in-door navigation without accessing a Cloud-based database or using GPS and Wi-Fi location.

With the planned Lowe’s Vision app due in August, consumers will be able to choose flooring, back splashes, appliances and other Lowe’s items and see how they look, and if they’ll fit, in the room in which they are standing. The items will appear on the smartphone display, overlaid on a picture of the room as seen by the phone’s main camera.

A Tango app from retailer Wayfair will let users take 3D measurements of rooms to select furniture to see how they will fit and look in the room.

Preloaded apps will let users walk through a forest growing in their living room, watch dinosaurs roam the living room, and set ups rows of dominoes to fall across floors and down stairs and tables.

Future apps could be used in stores or museums, where phones approaching a painting would automatically display information about the painting.

To make such features available, the phone features three back cameras: a 16-megapixel RGB camera, a depth-sensing camera and a motion-racking camera.

The Phab 2 Pro will be available in September through Best Buy and Lenovo’s online store, and it will appear later in the year in select Lowe’s stores and Lowe’s website. For Lowe’s, the Phab 2 Pro marks the chain’s entry into cellphone retailing, but the company has no plans to expand its cell-phone selection, a spokesperson told TWICE.

The other two Lenovo Phab phones will be available September only through Lenovo’s online store. They are the Lenovo Phab 2 starting at $199 and the Phab 2 Plus starting at $299. All Phabs feature 6.4-inch display and Android 6.0 OS.

Lenovo is beginning to market own-brand cellphones in the U.S. in part because “Lenovo wants to position itself as a technology innovator company and is elevating its own brand,” ABI research director Jeff Orr speculated.