Hands-on: Google Tango on the ASUS Zenfone AR
With the ASUS Zenfone AR finally being released in the US, I was able to get my hands on the device and check out it's main selling point: the built-in Google Tango. For those of you who do not know what Google Tango is, it is a powerful augmented reality (AR) computing platform. It allows you to place virtual objects in the real world using a Tango enabled device.
I know what you're thinking. Yes, you can do this on your current smartphone using Snapchat. The difference with Google Tango is that it is more fluid, it can detect the edge of an object, and you can walk around a virtual object and it will remain in the place you put it.
Personally, I tested a Google Tango app called 'Dinosaurs Among Us' and placed a Archaeopteryx on a red bench. I walked completely around it and it stayed in the spot I placed it in. The quality of it was great on the actual phone, but degraded when the clip was sent to another phone.
Next, I tested out the Amazon Product Preview application. This allowed me to see how TVs sold on Amazon would look on a wall. I could place the TVs on any wall I wanted and it gave me an idea if it could fit on the wall I wanted it on. I tested out a 55-inch 4K TCL Roku HD Smart TV and now I want one.
Lastly, I tested out an app that allowed me to place Spiderman in the real world, but it was pretty much an advertisement for the new movie. I placed Spidey on a flat surface and he would just pose and say "this is a chance to prove myself," on repeat. It was not very useful and was a bit boring, but still pretty cool to see the technology sensing flat surfaces.
Overall, Google Tango has promise and I could definitely see the benefits of this technology. It was fun and very interesting to try it out. I would not mind seeing other OEM's start using this technology in their phones. Here's hoping Google Tango becomes mainstream someday soon.