Google to shut down smartphone AR platform 'Tango'

Google shutting down its augmented reality platform Project Tango in favor of ARCore

Google has announced that it will be "turning down" Tango, its ambitious augmented-reality project for redefining what a smartphone camera can do, in March 2018. "Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years", the search giant said in a tweet. But Google definitely doesn't see a point in continuing Tango since it started ARCore.

Project Tango first surfaced way back in 2014, with the technology requiring expensive hardware including a dedicated depth-sensing IR camera and motion-tracking sensors to be built into devices alongside their usual cameras. Later it came with the Lenovo Phab Pro and Asus Zenfone AR.

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Alphabet-owned Google is shutting down its Project Tango computer vision platform (which graduated to just Tango in June last year).

Project Tango wasn't a complete bust though, as many of its innovations were carried over to ARCore. These pieces of hardware were necessary because Tango was based on having powerful sensors inside the device. Google announced today that it will end the project on March 1, 2018.

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The biggest problem with Tango was speed and accuracy. The new platform has already rolled out to the Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones. Few companies actually understand this better, in practice, on a grand scheme than Google - an innovator, startup adopter and visionary for many breakthroughs, but also a cold executioner for many others. ARCore doesn't suffer from the same setbacks as it works with existing hardware, making it a much more viable mass market option to focus on.

"Whereas Tango required special hardware, ARCore is a fast, performant, Android-scale SDK that enables high-quality augmented reality across millions of qualified mobile devices", writes Google in a developer blog entry discussing the shutdown of Tango.

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