Lenovo has finally unveiled its big plans for the mobility market, and it would be fair to say the company came out swinging. Of its two flagships, the first, the Phab 2 Pro, is the first device built with Google’s Tango technology, which gives the device spatial awareness, depth sensing and motion tracking capabilities.
This allows the phone to know its position relative to the room it is in, and allows for functionality such as augmented reality (AR) as well as measurement and 3D capture. Imagine Intel’s RealSense 3D camera and Microsoft HoloLens technology but on a phone.
The Phab 2 actually comes in three models, the standard version, the Plus, and the Pro. While they all boast some sort of AR capabilities, only the Pro is deemed a Tango device. It has four cameras in total, including depth and motion cameras at the back in addition to an 8MP front and 16MP rear-facing cameras. The Plus, on the other hand, has two 13MP rear cameras for post-capture image refocus (a cool feature previously found on the ZTE Axon).
The Pro features a 6.4″ Quad HD (2560 x 1440) curved glass display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Processor, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio Capture 5.1, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB expandable memory via microSD, a 4050 mAh fast charge battery, Android 6.0, and uses – curiously – microUSB as opposed to Type-C.
Lenovo’s second flagship, the Moto Z and Z Force, go in a whole different direction. On their own, they look quite plain, despite some solid specs.
They feature 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED displays supported by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32 GB or 64 GB of expandable storage via microSD and fingerprint reader. The slightly larger Moto Z Force comes with a larger 3500 mAh battery versus the 2600 mAh one found in the standard Z. The Force is also slightly thicker and features a shatterproof screen, which Lenovo has guaranteed won’t crack.
Furthermore, the Force will come with a 21MP as opposed to 13MP rear camera. Both models use USB Type-C and have eliminated the 3.5mm headphone jack.
What set these phones apart, of course, is their expandability. At just over 5mm in thickness, both phones essentially serve as a screen for Moto Mods, (pictured) or modules that attach magnetically onto the 16 dots on the back of the device. Mods announced so far include a music speaker module from JBL, a projector module that can blow up images to up to 70 inches, battery packs and custom skins.
Lenovo has issued a challenge for the most innovative ideas for new modules, but frankly we just want one that replicates the Phab 2 Pro’s Tango capabilities.
As for concept (read: bendable) devices, Lenovo was not shy about showing off what is likely coming down the pipeline in the next year or two. While they did not have release dates, they did have names.
The narrow, elongated bracelet is dubbed the CPlus Smartphone Watch, and looks curiously like fan mockups of the iPhone, but it was functional and demoed at the company’s Tech World conference without the assistance of cables.
The company said it spent a lot of time and energy into making sure the components inside the phone would adjust to the form factor, and from the company’s renders, it looks as though the battery and processors will be housed in areas that will not see much contortion.
No specs were announced for either concept devices, although with the smaller size, we expect the CPlus to see more modest performance and battery life.
Lastly, the Folio was the second concept device, and with its single hinge down the middle, the device can double as both a traditional tablet and a double-screened smartphone.
It will be very interesting to see whether the two bendable devices make it to the market, and whether they can spur growth in the lagging tablet and smartwatch markets or will remain niche products.