MWC 2016: Lenovo’s Project Tango smartphone to launch in July

Lenovo Group is ready to break into mature markets this summer with the launch of its new smartphone based on Google's Tango project

By: Reuters | Barcelona | Published:February 25, 2016 2:57 pm
Lenovo, MWC, MWC 2016, Lenovo Project Tango smartphone, Lenovo Google Project Tango, Google Project Tango device, smartphones, 3D mapping, AR, augmented reality, tech news, technology Lenovo plans to launch its first Google Project Tango based smartphone in July, aims to bring AR to smart devices (Source: Shruti Dhapola)

China’s Lenovo Group is ready to break into mature markets this summer with the launch of its new smartphone which sports ‘augmented reality’ features developed under Google’s Tango project, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

The device, which was announced at the 2016 CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas in January, will launch in July, Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing said in an interview at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Declining to give additional information he said that the phone will include Google’s Project Tango technology and more.

Project Tango combines 3D motion tracking with depth sensors to give a mobile device the ability to know where it is and how it moves through an area, creating the potential to use augmented reality features on the phone.

Also Read: CES 2016: Lenovo’s Google Project Tango device will be priced less than $500

Augmented reality software then overlays text or graphics on the real-life image. It differs from virtual reality, which seems to simulate real-world views.

The phone should boost Lenovo’s presence in mature markets such as North America, where the smartphone market shrunk slightly last year, by 0.4 percent, according to data from research firm Canalys.

“If you want to access the mature markets you need two things: innovative products and a premium brand,” Yuanqing said.

“So far we haven’t done very well on both things. But with a couple of years of preparation, I think now we are ready to attack that market this year.”

Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.9 billion more than a year ago, positioning it as the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker behind, Huawei, Apple and Samsung Electronics, according to Gartner.

Western markets make a tiny contribution to Lenovo’s sales, excluding Motorola, accounting for just 0.3 percent of its total in 2015, according to research group IDC. In contrast, 35 percent of Motorola phones went to Western Europe and North America.

Yuanqing expects the new device to boost overseas sales and will also have a positive impact on China.

“We want to break into the mature markets this year. You definitely can expect that,” Yuanqing said.