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Is this Google’s first augmented reality smartphone?

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Project Tango

Lenovo’s next flagship device – the world’s first to supports Google’s Project Tango – may have just leaked online.

Prolific leaker and journalist Steve Hemmerstoffer (better known as @Onleaks) has posted a press image and a photo of Lenovo’s upcoming phablet to Twitter. The images originate from China’s social media site Weibo, which makes this leak tough to verify. But if it is legitimate, these may be early images of the world's first smartphone to support Google's Project Tango augmented reality platform.

Here are the images:

lenovo

lenovo

As is evident, the phone pictured features two cameras. If this really is a Project Tango phone, then the second camera will almost certainly be used for depth-sensing. Otherwise, the phone looks like a conventional Google device.

Perhaps the only other point of interest is that the Android buttons – back, home, and recent apps – are built into the device as capacitive hardware keys, not software-based. That’s unusual for a phone built in partnership with Google, but then it’s not clear exactly how involved Google was with the project.

This latest leak comes just two days after rival journalist and tipster Evan Blass posted details about the new device on Twitter:

Project Tango is Google’s attempt to get mobile phones and tablets seeing the same way humans see. That means giving devices full spatial awareness, and teaching them to understand environments and how things relate to each other.

The end goal is to develop decent augmented reality experiences that can be powered by a phone. Qualcomm and Intel have already announced reference designs for Project Tango devices, so it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Moreover, Intel’s RealSense 3D camera is a vital cog in getting Project Tango off the ground.

Of course, it’s impossible for us to say for certain whether these images are legitimate. As such, take these two leaks – and any other such leaks – with due caution.

On the bright side, it’s expected that Lenovo will unveil its Project Tango at Tech World 2016 later today. Stay tuned.

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