One of Google’s mad-scientist experimental technologies is about to descend from the laboratory and land on the mainstream. Project Tango, a three dimensional space sensor, is about to find its way into the company’s tablet lineup. The 3D technology expands on Google’s ongoing ideas about loading up a mobile device with external sensors so it can interact with its user and surroundings more intuitively and efficiently. The Moto X phone was touted as being heavy on sensor technology, but mostly turned out to be just another Android phone. However, even as Google has parted ways with the Motorola brand, it’s retained the technology. And now Google is ready to Tango – but is this part of the Android Silver initiative?
Just how Project Tango will translate to real world features is anyone’s guess. Smartphones currently use rudimentary sensors to detect whether they’ve been placed up against a user’s ear, for instance, and turn off the screen accordingly in order to save battery life and prevent accidental face-dialing. But more sophisticated sensors could go more in depth. Samsung has experimented with sensors which determine whether a user’s eyes are looking at the screen while a video is playing, so it can auto-pause if needed. But more advanced uses of the technology on the next Google Nexus tablet could go a long way toward transforming tablets into true computing devices of the future and not merely oversized smartphones that don’t make phone calls. That’s if Google doesn’t kill off the Nexus first in favor of a new brand name.
Rumors have Google ditching the entire Nexus brand in favor of shifting toward a new “Android Silver” platform going forward. Project Tango, or whatever its commercial brand name ends up being, sounds like the kind of technology that could become a core feature in the upcoming Silver platform.