Google returns to innovation -- reveals Android prototype, Project Tango

Android handsets are getting a bit stale. Year after year, we get faster specs and bigger screens, but what about innovation? Sure, Samsung has attempted to add features, but those have proven to be more of a gimmick than true innovation. A video pauses when the user looks away? In theory it is cool, but in practice very annoying -- sometimes you look away and want to keep listening to the audio. As an Android fan, I hate to say it, but the fingerprint reader on Apple's iPhone 5s is true quality innovation.

Sadly, even Google's Nexus line has been rather ho-hum. From the Galaxy Nexus to the Nexus 5, its all the same stuff, just minor bumps -- yawn. Today however, Google announces a prototype handset that is so revolutionary, your chest hair may stand on end -- Project Tango.

"Our current prototype is a 5-inch phone containing customized hardware and software designed to track the full 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment. These sensors allow the phone to make over a quarter million 3D measurements every second, updating it’s position and orientation in real-time, combining that data into a single 3D model of the space around you", says Google.

The search-giant further explains, "it runs Android and includes development APIs to provide position, orientation, and depth data to standard Android applications written in Java, C/C++, as well as the Unity Game Engine. These early prototypes, algorithms, and APIs are still in active development. So, these experimental devices are intended only for the adventurous and are not a final shipping product".

In other words, take the word "Project" to heart -- you will not be playing Flappy Bird on this anytime soon. This is strictly a prototype. Google will only be giving them to developers that can present a good case as to why they are worthy.

So what does Google boast about? The company says, "imagine playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character, or transforming the hallways into a tree-lined path. Imagine competing against a friend for control over territories in your home with your own miniature army, or hiding secret virtual treasures in physical places around the world".

Well, I guess that sounds...cool? To be honest, I am not interested in playing hide and seek in my house. Quite frankly, I do not know any adults that would. However, I am sure that more productive uses will come to fruition. After all, three 3D sensors have to be good for something, right?

Scarily, the search giant says "the goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion". Uh-oh, is this the start of Skynet?

Are you excited for Project Tango? Tell me in the comments.

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