Google teams with nVidia, unveils Tegra K1-powered Project Tango tablet

Months after the launch of Project Tango, Google has finally unveiled the speculated Project Tango Tablet, complete with its 7-inch display, 3D mapping capabilities. Much like the Project Tango smartphone, the tablet, unveiled by Google on Thursday, is designed for developers that wish to explore mobile 3D sensing.

The original announcement for Project Tango was made in February. This project is the latest from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, which came to fame with its Project Ara modular smartphone. Only the Tango smartphone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor was launched with the project. The tablet remained in the dark until Thursday’s official announcement. The Tango smartphone was only sold to 200 developers in March 2014, but the tablet is expected to be in slightly larger quantities.

Google teamed up with Nvidia to build Project Tango, which not only runs on the Tegra K1 processor, but also includes 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 4G LTE support, and Android 4.4 Kitkat operating system. The key feature, Tango’s motion tracking camera, is capable of capturing 3D images of objects within the lens’ frame of view. The tablet design is less bulky than the smartphone and includes an area on the back that contains extra sensors, as well as two ridges for extra comfort when holding the device.

Nvidia explained that the sensing tools are capable of understanding “space and motion the way humans do”, meaning that spaces can be mapped by Tango into three dimensions. This means that we could potentially see a future where virtual and real-world spaces will blend together in applications, creating the next level of virtual/augmented reality.

This technology could also help with the visually impaired. The 3D mapping and sensing could help navigate those individuals through unfamiliar places. The software would be able use the 3D mapping and sensing to describe the surroundings to the user.

The Project Tango Development is set to become available later this year with a price of $1024. Google said that the kits will be in limited quantities. If you would like to express your interest in the Project Tango development kit, you can provide your name and student/business email address (no personal) to Google, and they will notify you once the kit goes on sale.

The Tegra K1 GPU architecture was introduced at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This 192-core chip uses the Kepler architecture, which is currently the fastest, most energy-efficient GPU architecture. Nvidia claims that this allows the mobile GPU architecture to offer better than the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. With nVidia’s new chip, the company plans to better compete with Qualcomm in the mobile market.


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