Google to drop support for AR focused Project Tango on March 1st

Back in February 2014, Google introduced Project Tango, an Augmented Reality system that was designed for mobile use. Today, Google announced that it will no longer support it starting on March 1, 2018. But this doesn't mean that Google is closing the door on AR. It means that Tango is being replaced by Google's ARCore, which is based on software unlike the more hardware oriented Tango.

Tango peaked in June 2016 when the Lenovo Phab2 Pro was unveiled as the first Project Tango phone. With a huge 6.4-inch screen, the handset came with three cameras on back. The trio included a 16MP RGB camera, a snapper for depth perception, and a motion tracking camera. The result was a phone that offered AR features and ran AR flavored apps. When Lenovo showed off the phone, it demonstrated an app that could allow users to take an image of a piece of furniture from an ad, and show how it would look in any room, from all angles.

Earlier this year, the Asus ZenFone AR launched with support for Tango and Google's VR platform Daydream. Powered by the Snapdragon 821 SoC, the phone, now discontinued by Verizon, was equipped with a 23MP camera with Sony IMX 318 sensors and OIS. Motion tracking and depth sensing cameras were also placed om back. The phone featured a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1440 x 2560 QHD display.

Now, as Google shifts its focus to ARCore, software becomes the big driver of AR, which means that you can expect to see Augmented Reality show up as a feature on a large number of Android handsets.

source: @projecttango via TechCrunch

Related phones

Phab 2 Pro
  • Display 6.4" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 652, Octa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 64GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4050 mAh(18h talk time)
ZenFone AR
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 128GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(14h talk time)



1. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Bad call. The best AR will come from good hardware and software not just one.

6. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Well, they could make the hardware an addon instead of a necessity. That'll be much better IMO. Simply plug in say a more precise USB C OTG sensor to get the same result as you would with it being permanently built in. That'll make it a whole lot more accessible, 'cause barely anyone will be buying another phone just for tango...

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7610; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

People right now don't care about how precise Tango made things. The vast majority don't want to pay the extra cost for Tango's precision. They just want to play and learn if AR is for them right now, and maybe see if they can do something in the future with it (developers). The way I see it, as time marches on, then the price of the extra hardware will also drop as well. Making it more feasible for the masses to have precision AR in the future.

13. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I always buy high-end devices and the big players in the smartphone game will include the right hardware when AR becomes big enough in the next few years so I suppose I don't really have anything to worry about but those mid-range buyers will.

2. Zylam

Posts: 1823; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Yea what the heck, things were just starting to take off and get good.

3. BGChicago

Posts: 228; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

What else to expect from a company that chaned it's messaging app name and style dozens of times. .

4. mudcat626

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 13, 2016

Lol, Apple comes out with ARKit and catches Google by surprise, now they are dropping Project Tango, which they started years ago? PATHETIC!!! I am a Apple user and I know Apple makes good products, I can’t understand why Google and Samsung and all the other Android makers are so bad at competing with Apple, Tim Cook and the boys got to be cracking up everyday at Google and Samsung........

8. sgodsell

Posts: 7610; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The one that is pathetic is you. Especially when you have to ask why Google has dropped Tango. Tango is a hardware version of AR that is way more precise than ARkit and ARcore, and it would even work in the dark. Something that ARkit cannot do. Because both of those only use visual camera. Tango used 3 different types of cameras, IR camera, depth sensing camera, and a regular camera. Measurements with Tango is a lot more precise than ARkit or ARcore. In the long run hardware is needed if you want your AR to have more precision, and work under a lot of other conditions that ARkit will not support, including dark conditions or where there is not enough contrast in the background from the foreground. But clearly for you Apple and their iOS is the way to go, especially when iOS is designed for simpletons.

16. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

The brainwash is strong in this one.

5. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

When Apple announced AR, android fan boys were saying that Google Tango is much better...the truth is that Apple is rarely the first to make “new things” but when they do, they often do it right.

9. sgodsell

Posts: 7610; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Apples AR is not precise compared to Tango with its 3 different types of cameras. Plus Tango could work under a number of conditions that ARkit cannot. The extra hardware is an extra expense, and most people don't want to pay extra for the better AR hardware and experience. If you do not need the precision, then ARkit or ARCore is what will do for the cheaper people, especially when it's only using an single regular camera.

10. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Tango is more precise but Google cannot mass market it like Apple does with AR. Google relies on third party OEMs to mass market AR. Apple does have an edge because a lot of the iPhones already can run AR.

14. cmdacos

Posts: 4386; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Arkit and arcore are the cheaper way of implementing a good enough for now solution to ar. That's why tango is being dropped. AI and software will minimize the need for fancier hardware in the next 2 years. So far the snapchat grade AR that Apple and Google have put out have not been compelling enough to grow exponentially.

11. collin3000

Posts: 70; Member since: Apr 28, 2015

This is one of the most disappointing things I've heard. Tango was amazing and the components were getting better and smaller. Plus the tech was open so anyone could use it. Stereo vision based AR is decent but only 60fps depth scanning (at 8mp) vs Tango's laser mapping

12. midan

Posts: 3215; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Apple changed the AR game with their ARkit. Tango never had any future, so this was bound to happen sooner or later.

15. cmdacos

Posts: 4386; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Tango brings the patents that many including Apple will have to overcome in order to build compelling ar. Google will have an advantage if/when ar grows in mainstream use cases.

18. vincelongman

Posts: 5808; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Without Tango ARKit wouldn't be where it is now Apple acquired Flyby Media who worked closely with Google on Project Tango

17. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

You can all thank Sony for starting the whole AR thing.

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