The second generation of Lenovo's Phab phones are here already, headlined by the first ever 'Project Tango' equipped smartphone with sensors and cameras that can map its surroundings. Following up the supersized 7-inch Phab and Phab Plus that debuted at the end of last year are the Phab2 Pro, Phab2 Plus and Phab2, which all share a smaller 6.4-inch frame.
The Phab2 Pro is special because it fulfills the promise of demos Google's Advanced Technologies and Products (ATAP) division has been flashing for the last couple of years. Google and Lenovo have worked with developers, scientists and other companies to create apps built around the unique capabilities included in the Phab2 Pro. Dual cameras create an "eye" that sees the phone's location in 3D with depth perception, while additional sensors that monitor its surroundings 250,000 times per second.
Google and Lenovo have shown off experiences that use the Tango technology to provide augmented reality-guided tours in museums, and even odd experiences like Woorld, but there are more practical applications. Lowes has a Lowes Vision app that it says will allow homeowners to remodel by envisioning how appliances or furniture will look in their space virtually. Lenovo VP Jeff Meredith envisions the technology becoming "pervasive, just like GPS."
Despite shrinking to a size usable by human hands and coming with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, they each pack large 4,050mAh batteries inside and Dolby Atmos audio capabilities that can record sound in 5.1 surround, but the similarities end there. The Phab2 is a decently-spec'd large smartphone, the Phab2 Plus upgrades it with a metal frame, better display and better cameras, while the Pro elevates things to the stratosphere with premium specs and sensing abilities that trump any phone we've seen before -- all with a $500 (on-contract) pricetag.
The Pro also adds on a specially designed eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, 64GB of built-in storage (expandable via microSD), 4GB of RAM and 2K (2,560 x 1,440) resolution "Assertive" display. All of these phones are scheduled to arrive globally in September, while the Tango-enabled Phab2 Pro will be sold at Lowe's stores, and online by the end of the year .