January 8, 2016 11:25 am

Google teams up with Lenovo to build a smartphone with 3D mapping

Project Tango is Google’s Android phone development that has the capability to learn the dimensions of rooms and spaces that the user moves around in.

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Google has enlisted the help of Chinese tech giant Lenovo to build and sell the world’s first consumer smartphone with 3D mapping capabilities.

During an announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show Thursday, the two companies revealed that the phone will be able to see in distances to measure the height of your ceiling or the area inside of a room simply by touching a few points on the screen when pointing its cameras up and down.

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The phone is the brain child of Google’s Project Tango, first teased in February 2014. The goal of the project was to create a smartphone with a human scale understanding of space and motion.

The device would be sold globally for under $500 and have a screen under 6.5 inches diagonally. Test devices have been in the shape of a small tablet that executives said was too large for consumers to use easily.

Using test devices, Google and Lenovo executives demonstrated how to play a virtual game of Jenga on a real coffee table and  how virtual pets could react to objects in the real world when caught in the phone’s gaze. One app appeared to place virtual furniture and appliances in a room measured by the device to see if they would fit.

The companies also put out a call for developers to apply to an app incubator by mid-February with the promise the apps could come pre-installed in the device when it goes on sale.

Lenovo drops Motorola name

Lenovo was also garnered media attention Thursday after it announced it was dropping the Motorola name from its smartphones.

“We’ll slowly phase out Motorola and focus on Moto,” Lenovo COO Rick Osterloh told CNet in an interview.

The company, which bought Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014, said it will unify all of its phone businesses under the Lenovo name. However, it will still use Motorola’s “Moto” brand name.

– With files from The Associated Press

© 2016 Shaw Media

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