Back in April, some Project Tango invitees reported that the tablet development kit's price had dropped from $1024 down to the "special price" of $512. In an email notification to invited buyers, Google advised, "We're opening up sales more broadly, so now is the last chance to buy the device we've reserved for you."
Evidently Google wasn't joking, as today Project Tango can be bought for the same $512 price invite-free from the Google Store.
Dropping the invitation requirement just one day before the 2015 I/O keynote is certainly an interesting move, and may suggest that Google will have more to tell us about its 3D sensing and tracking efforts during the conference.
Google Maps is one of those apps that will always have an enormous number of potential new features, so it's interesting to see the things Google is focusing on with each new release. We just saw an update to v9.2 with new navigation settings and auto-correct for searches, but there are plenty of other really interesting additions in the works. Let's take a look at some of the features we might have to look forward to. It's time for a teardown.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are, by their nature, speculative and based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
Limbic has released Zombie Gunship Reality onto Google Play, a game that pretty much no one is able to play at the moment. It's available exclusively for Project Tango, an augmented reality project that has yet to ship on a device intended for general consumers. Unless there's an announcement in the works, one isn't intended for quite some time.
Zombie Gunship Reality takes the popular Zombie Gunship franchise and gives it the Tango treatment, requiring players to move around a physical space in order to find and fire upon the hordes of undead threatening the area below. If you find using the gyroscope exhausting, just look at the workout the person playing this game in the trailer is getting.
Google's ATAP team is doing cool stuff with Project Tango – like sending it into space to help astronauts do stuff. Of course, those of us on earth also want to get our hands on this upcoming tech to see what it's all about, as well (though probably not for the $1k asking price of the dev unit). According to ATAP team member Regina Dugan in a talk today at I/O 2014, there should be a retail version made by LG hitting the streets next year.
Unfortunately, that's all the info we have right now – no specs, size, pricing info, or the like.
Yesterday, Google unveiled its Project Tango tablet dev kit, which is packing some of the most beastly hardware we've ever seen in an Android device: NVIDIA's Tegra K1 chip, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of solid-state storage, and multiple sensors and cameras to do what Tango does. What wasn't really discussed, however, is the 3D engine that will run the show. We're now getting a little closer look at how that could possibly work thanks to a new concept video from Mantis Vision, the company that produces the technology used for 3D data manipulation in Project Tango. This core technology used in the 3D engine is called MV4D, and Google's upcoming Tango dev kit is the first device to utilize this advanced rendering platform.
We've already seen that Google is working on some pretty incredible things with Project Tango, the space-aware smartphone project that's essentially capable of capturing 3D maps of indoor locations. The team behind Tango – Google's ATAP – is already working with NASA to use prototypes in autonomous robots to aid astronauts on the Space Station, but now it looks a Tango-esque device could be coming a lot closer to home than that.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Google is said to be developing a tablet version of Tango, complete with a seven-inch display, dual cameras, infrared depth sensors, and "advanced software" capable of, well, doing what Tango does.
So we all know that Project Tango is cool – programing a mobile device to be aware of its own surroundings just as people are can be potentially beneficial in many ways. NASA has clearly seen something in the in Tango as well, as the company has been working with Google since last year to utilize the project with its own robotic platform called SPHERES. In a nutshell, it wants to incorporate Tango into autonomous, space-aware robots that will take some of the load off of astronauts on the International Space Station by doing some of the work for them.
If Facebook's 19 billion dollar deal to buy WhatsApp didn't convince you that messaging apps are big business, then... well, this probably won't convince you either, but you'll be even more wrong. Tango Messenger, a solid entry in the crowded text chat market, has been given a huge investment by a group of companies including China's Alibaba.com. Alibaba invested a whopping $215 million, with an extra $65 million coming from previous Tango investors. The total capital raised to date for Tango is $367 million.
Alibaba is sort of the Chinese equivalent of Amazon. The company started as a business-to-business marketplace, but has since expanded into just about every aspect of consumer shopping and online services, including purchasing what was left of the Chinese arm of Yahoo.
Chat clients limited to one-on-one conversation are going the way of the dodo. We've got numerous options for group messaging including: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google+ Messenger, Live Messenger, and we're even pretty sure Babel (or whatever it will be called) will join the list. Today, popular cross-platform chat app, Tango, steps up to match its competitors.
The additions to the interface are very straightforward. You can pick multiple people from your contact list to start a conversation and at any time add new people or leave the chat altogether from the participants screen. To help organize conversations, groups can be given custom names and the changes appear for everybody.