Asus had already teased the announcement of a new smartphone set to debut at CES this week, and now we know what it’s going to be called. Thanks to an accidental early post of a press release by Qualcomm, the new phone is the ZenFone AR and it will be the second handset to be built on Google’s Tango platform.
As the release comes from Qualcomm and not Asus, it is fairly light on details other than the chipset, but it’s a good one. The phone will use the latest Snapdragon 821 processor–the same chip that’s in the Pixel and Pixel XL (and other recent high-end phones)–to power the phone. That’s a marked improvement over the first Tango device, Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro, which runs the less-powerful Snapdragon 652 processor. According to Qualcomm’s since-pulled press release, that should result in a better overall experience:
“All Tango-related processing is done on a single, highly efficient SoC (system-on-a-chip), so users of the ZenFone AR can enjoy high-performance smartphone AR user experiences with long battery life.”
Qualcomm also says the phone will include support for Daydream, making it the first handset to handle Google’s augmented and virtual reality applications simultaneously. An image released by EVleaks shows the device to have a fairly standard enclosure, though it’s unclear if it will be as massive as the Phab 2 Pro’s 6.4-inch behemoth.
Why it matters: The jury is still out on Tango, but AR and VR are certainly here to stay. With the Snapdragon 821 powering Asus’ new handset, we may finally get to see how the two technologies can enhance the world around us, as our smartphones expand beyond the small screens in our hands.
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