With the PHAB 2 Pro, Lenovo announced the first consumer-ready phone with support for Google's augmented reality Tango platform. The PHAB 2 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 652 SoC, which features software-level optimizations to be fully compatible with Tango. Qualcomm has announced at MWC Shanghai that it is expanding Tango support to its flagship Snapdragon 820 SoC, as well as future SoCs in the Snapdragon 800 and 600 tiers.
As we've noted, the Snapdragon 652 offers many advantages for Tango, including high accuracy, uniform time stamping of multiple sensor data streams, efficient processing without the need for external co-processors, and leading camera and sensor processing technology. Now, Snapdragon 820 offers the same advantages, as well as the added benefits of our premium Snapdragon 800 tier processors, including higher performance and even lower power consumption.
The fact is, all Snapdragon 600 and 800 series processors share the same architectural advantages needed to deliver Tango experiences in highly mobile form factors. Tightly integrated into a single chip, the components of Snapdragon processors are uniquely equipped to simultaneously process data from all five Tango-related sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, and three camera sensors, including two new Tango-specific camera sensors: a fisheye motion tracking camera and a depth sensor camera).
Snapdragon 600 and 800 series processors also include an integrated global high-frequency clock, which performs highly accurate, uniform time stamping of all that sensor data, which is critical for enabling smooth augmented reality experiences, where 3D graphic overlays track virtually seamlessly with physical surroundings.
Tango does not require a specialized co-processor, and as such an OEM can build an AR-ready phone by adding a depth sensor and motion tracking camera. Qualcomm is hoping that the technology becomes a standard feature, and support for the high-end Snapdragon 820 opens up the potential for a lot of interesting AR hardware.