Tango was Google's ambitious effort to build augmented reality into mobile devices. Indeed, the company's old AR platform will be no longer be a reality - augmented or otherwise - on March 1. However, ARCore is different from Project Tango. The trio included a 16MP RGB camera, a snapper for depth perception, and a motion tracking camera.
Well, the requirement of specialized hardware is one of the reasons why Project Tango wasn't adopted as widely as it should have been.
At the basic level, Tango let you do things like use a smartphone as a tape measure, since it could accurately measure distance in front of you.
We assume at some point when camera-based approaches reach their limit and sensors become small and cheap enough direct measurement of the environment will return, but in the meantime, it appears camera approximations and really smart software will have to do.
Tango finally came to market in 2016, as the flagship feature in the Lenovo Phab2 Pro smartphone. It was followed by the Asus ZenFone AR, which arrived earlier this year. But Google clearly wants to make those experiences available to more users, which means moving on from Tango.
The reason behind Google dropping support for Project Tango is ARCore.
ARCore made a significant public debut with AR Stickers rolling out to the Pixel and Pixel 2 earlier this week.
Announced in August, ARCore brings augmented reality to existing Android devices without the need of special hardware. The information could be used for navigation, mapping, and also augmented reality. ARCore is Android's equivalent to Apple ARKit, a baked-in augmented reality platform, which made an appearance into developer kits and a few consumer devices past year.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.