Google and Qualcomm have announced a partnership to bring out a Project Tango-capable smartphone in the third quarter of 2015. The new mobile device will have all the smarts of the existing Nvidia-powered Project Tango tablet, but pack them into a smaller form factor.
Qualcomm says the new device will be powered by its Snapdragon 810 CPU and Adreno 430 GPU (the same setup inside the HTC One M9) and will give developers “the ability to track 3D motion of a device while simultaneously creating a map of the environment.”
It can be difficult to keep track of all of Google’s various initiatives, so there’s no shame in wondering exactly what Project Tango is. The research project combines software and hardware that can map out a 3D environment around a device and get a much better idea of where it is and where it’s pointing than a normal smartphone would (it works along the same lines as Microsoft’s HoloLens, but in a mobile device rather than a headset).
Originally part of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP), and before that, a division of Motorola, Project Tango makes use of development consultants from across the world, including Bosch, JPL, and the George Washington University.
Like the existing tablet, the smartphone will be aimed at developers looking to code software on top of Project Tango — this isn’t really a platform that’s ready for primetime yet. That said, the tablet is now available to anyone who wants it via the Google Play Store. Up until the last few days, you needed an invite to get hold of one.
The announcement is evidence that Project Tango’s technology is getting more compact and smarter all the time. “Qualcomm Technologies is pleased to power the next generation Project Tango development device,” said Qualcomm’s Raj Talluri as the deal was made public. “We’re excited to work together with Google and Android developers to help deliver new, innovative visual experiences using depth-sensing technology on mobile devices.”