Google's Next Tablet Will Be Able to 3-D Map Your Surroundings
Get ready: The first batch of Google’s next-generation tablets are reportedly set to drop into the hands of the first class of beta users as soon as next month.
The tablets are part of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, Project Tango, which is developing mobile technology that will allow users to 3-D map their surroundings. Project Tango’s first device to be released with this capability is a 5-inch Android phone. A small number of developers and beta testers have been given the phone, but it’s not yet publicly available.
The first smartphones were released in February and the first batch of 4,000 Project Tango tablets will be produced in June, The Wall Street Journal reports. The tablet is said to have a 7-inch screen and two cameras in the back.
A Google spokesperson declined to comment.
Google has been working with top talent across universities, research labs and companies in nine countries to develop the 3-D environment smartphone and tablet, according to the Project Tango website.
The devices track the motion of the user and simultaneously generate a 3-D map of the surrounding environment. The smartphone makes over a quarter million 3-D measurements every second, according to Google, effectively updating location in real time.
The technology will have game-changing implications for the visually impaired. For consumers, the 3-D mapping technology will allow users to be able to walk into a store and be instantly directed to whatever item they are searching for. And for gamers, the technology will mean an entirely new dimension of play.
The timing of the news reports that the tablet is coming soon is not entirely surprising. Google’s annual developers conference is coming up at the end of June and so it would make sense to have the latest generation technology available for developers to play with. Also, Google’s Silicon Valley rival Facebook just last month dropped $2 billion on the virtual reality startup Oculus Rift, so competition in this 3-D space of virtual reality is heating up.
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.