Two to Tango: Google, Lenovo partner to build location-aware phone

Lenovo says it will launch a phone in the summer that uses Google's Project Tango location and spatial awareness technology.

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Here is a concept image of the Project Tango phone, which will sell for less than $500 when it launches in the summer.

Sean Hollister/CNET

Lenovo wants to help take Google's Project Tango, a program to add spatial and location aware technology into mobile devices, to the mainstream.

The Chinese consumer electronics maker said on Thursday at a press conference in Las Vegas that it plans to sell the phone in the summer for less than $500. Lenovo said the device would also sell in the US.

Project Tango came out of a Google project to make better use of inside space. While mapping companies have plotted the outside world with remarkable accuracy, there are few aids to navigate you once you're inside a mall, large hotel, or a crazy-large consumer electronics show. A mobile device with Project Tango technology would employ three cameras -- one to distinguish colors, a depth lens and a fish-eye lens -- to get a sense of the space around them.

Johnny Lee, project lead for Tango, was on stage to show off a few new applications, including playing a game of virtual Jenga on stage, with digital Jenga pieces layered on top of the actual physical base. Another game showed a digital cat running around the stage and jumping on the real furniture.

Lenovo showed off a number of concept images of the potential phone, but declined to provide additional details on the device. CNET earlier reported that Lenovo would phase out the Motorola name for consumers as it focuses on its Moto brand for high-end phones and the Vibe brand for low-end phones.

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