The Asus ZenFone AR is the first phone to support both Google’s Tango AR and Daydream VR tech.


Image: Asus

Asus has confirmed its new Google Tango augmented-reality (AR) phone, the ZenFone AR, will be available in the US by July or possibly even late June.

The company has already revealed that the ZenFone AR, which also supports Google’s Daydream virtual-reality platform, is launching exclusively with Verizon this summer with pricing details still under wraps.

But it’s now set out a more precise timeline for what will be the second Tango-enabled phone on the market, following Lenovo’s Phab Pro 2, a huge mid-range phone that launched last year for $500.

The 5.7-inch ZenFone AR could be more appealing given its higher-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, which has been optimized for AR. The phone will be available with 6GB or 8GB RAM, and up to 256GB storage. It will ship with Android Nougat 7.0.

Asus CEO Jerry Shen told Engadget at Computex in Taiwan that the ZenFone could be available as early as the end of June, following its Taiwan launch in mid-June.

Shen didn’t reveal pricing but promised it would not cost more than Samsung’s $850 Galaxy S8 Plus.

Google has been experimenting with Tango since 2014 as a means of interacting with and sensing the physical world around a Tango device. Tango adds depth perception and motion-tracking capabilities to smartphones, opening up new uses for gaming, indoor navigation, and measuring areas.

The ZenFone AR taps these capabilities via a three-camera set-up on the rear, including a motion-tracking camera and a depth-sensing camera alongside a main 23-megapixel camera.

The ZenFone AR will launch with a number of advantages over Lenovo’s Tango handset. Besides a more powerful Snapdragon SoC, there are more than 100 Tango apps compared with 30-plus apps a year ago. It is also the first phone to support both Tango and Daydream.

Shen expects there will be over 1,000 Tango apps next year.

Read more about Google’s ZenFone AR



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