Intel rethinks AR, drops Project Tango smartphone
29 July 2016 | 0
The phone was never expected to go on sale to the general public; it was a reference device intended to help developers and device makers find new uses for 3D cameras in handsets.
But it could have helped Intel play a bigger role in the emerging market for augmented and virtual reality devices.
It’s also something of a setback for Google, since developers have one less hardware platform on which to test and build Project Tango applications. Google offers a tablet development kit for $512, but no smartphone.
Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro, the first commercial Project Tango smartphone, is due to go on sale later this year for $499. The phablet has a 6.4″ screen, and its sensors allow it to measure short distances and navigate indoors. It will also play 3D games in which virtual images are overlaid on the real world.
Intel’s developer phone had a 2560×1440 resolution screen, but the real draw was the RealSense ZR300 system. A bit like Microsoft’s Kinect, it can map its surroundings in 3D, detect hand gestures and recognise objects using its camera and sensors.
RealSense is still offered in many other products, and it’s at the centre of Intel’s strategy to make PCs and other devices more interactive using computer vision.
Intel will lay out its current VR and AR strategy at this year’s Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco next month. While it’s scaled back its development of Atom chips, it will describe plans for a pair of augmented reality smart glasses for remote collaboration, based on another low-power chipset.
Intel’s best assets for VR and AR today are the powerful PC processors needed to drive headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Intel doesn’t provide the graphics to drive those headsets, however, which come from Nvidia and AMD.
Intel also isn’t part of Google’s new DayDream project, a VR platform that includes hardware and software and will be built on top of Android N. HP has talked about bringing VR to Chromebooks, however, most of which do run on Intel chips.
IDG News Service