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. Here's the real kicker, though: the company is said to be producing 4,000 prototype Tango tablets beginning next month. According to "people familiar with the matter," these demo units will go directly to the hands of developers, who can in turn start working their magic with this next-gen device.
With Google I/O coming up next month, the timing seems pretty obvious here: there will likely be a heavy focus on Tango at Google's upcoming conference (and perhaps with the upcoming version of Android?), so handing prototype units to the folks who use their brain-power to put these kinds of things on the map makes a lot of sense.
Christmas is a great and all, but I'd argue that Google I/O season is the most wonderful time of the year.