Google has announced that hardware partner LG is to produce a commercial version of Google's depth-sensing Project Tango tablet, even before the advertising giant has started shipping its high-priced developer versions.
Google's developer-only Project Tango tablet is to be followed in 2015 by a commercialised variant produced by LG, project lead Johnny Lee announced last night.
Originally unveiled as a prototype built into a smartphone shell
, Project Tango takes the depth-sensing camera technology that powers the Kinect and adds a low-power high-performance co-processor to allow real-time processing on mobile hardware. The result is a smartphone that can create a 3D map of its surroundings, using that data to do everything from interactive augmented reality gaming to navigation for the visually impaired.
In June, Google announced that it would be selling a Project Tango Tablet
which integrates the technology into a high-end Android chassis. Unfortunately, the high-end nature of the device extends to its price tag: the initial limited production run will result in devices costing $1,024 and available only to verified Android developers.
During his presentation at the Google I/O conference late last night, Project Tango lead Johnny Lee told attendees that his team has begun work with LG - which already partners with Google to produce the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 smartphones - to create a more cost-effective commercial implementation of the technology. Unfortunately, little was shared regarding the device's specifications although it is expected to based around the existing developer edition.
According to Lee, the commercial Project Tango device will launch some time in 2015. By then, the team aims to have integrated support for the depth-sensing camera system into a variety of 3D engines - meaning that augmented reality gaming is likely to be the initial selling point. Pricing has, naturally, not yet been confirmed.