After three and a half years of development, Google has canned its Tango augmented reality concept in favour of concentrating on the new ARCore SDK, which was released in August and built out of the lessons that the search giant learned from Tango.
Originally known as Project Tango, the development was one of the first to come out of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) department. The first hardware with Tango was a smartphone with a depth-sensing camera, similar to the Microsoft Kinect and using a vision processing unit by Movidius. The result was a phone that could scan its environment and build a 3D map of its surroundings, without putting undue stress on the battery.
Google talked up Tango for a long time, boasting about partners like Lenovo (which built the tech into its Phab 2 Pro smartphone) and Asus (ZenFone AR), and describing applications such as augmented reality and physical space measurement.
Intel's RealSense 3D cameras, which arrived on products in 2015, seemed poised to bring Tango to the mainstream - but in the end, consumers just weren't as excited about the technology as Google. Sales of both the Lenovo and Asus phones were poor, while Google's own Peanut and Yellowstone phone and tablet were only available to developers.
Google has taken the lessons it learned with Tango and applied them to ARCore. For example, the new SDK does not require special hardware, only using a normal camera and inertial measurement unit (built in to most modern high-end smartphones).
Google's Nikhil Chandok said, "Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore."
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