Project Tango Comes to Mobile With The Lenovo Phab 2 Range

Several years ago this video introduced Johnny Lee to the world. Not long after, Google hired Johnny and he would go on to lead Project Tango. For those of you who may not know, Project Tango is a computer vision platform that allows a Phone/Tablet/Device to know its position relative to the world without using GPS or external signals. This positional awareness is accomplished with a second wide angle camera and a depth sensor. We’ve seen Project Tango demos for a couple of years now, mostly with tablets, but this is the first time in a consumer phone.


Today at Tech World 2016, Lenovo introduced the world to the first consumer “Project Tango” device – The Phab 2 Pro. The Phab Pro 2 is the top-end version of Lenovo’s’ Phab product line which consists of the Phab 2, the Phab 2 Plus, and the Tango capable Phab 2 Pro. The three devices all share a similar design language and size. Like the Phab 2 and the Plus, the Phab 2 Pro has a gigantic 6.4” display sporting a “2.5D” glass covered 2560 x 1440 LCD display. Lenovo claims the display is an “Assertive Display” that “can adapt to variable lighting conditions like sunlight or light reflections.”

Spec wise, the devices are stratified as expected. Both the Phab 2 and the Phab 2 Plus end Phab models come equipped with MediaTek processors (8735 and 8783 respectively.) The Phab 2 Pro however, comes equipped with a Snapdragon 652, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a large 4050 mAh battery with “2.4x turbo charging.”

Phab2-pic7-bigThe body of the Phab Pro 2 is an 8.9mm thick aluminum unibody. The device looks nice enough, but it doesn’t really stand out in a sea of familiar metal phones. Interestingly, up front we have a set of (correctly ordered) capacitive keys with Marshmallow iconography. The speaker and microphone are on bottom in a traditional set of drilled speaker grilles. Unlike the Moto Z, the Phab Pro 2 retains a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack up top.  

Around back, the Phab 2 Pro has a fingerprint reader right below the two necessary Tango cameras. The main camera is a 16MP and is flanked by an additional 8MP sensor. These two Tango sensors are what enables the magic-like augmented reality features like accurate distance measurement and games that overlay the physical world.


The entire Phab 2 lineup can be purchased directly from Lenovo or other retailers in september. The Phab 2 comes in at $199, the Phab 2 Plus at $299, and finally the Phab Pro 2 for surprisingly reasonable price of $499. Additionally the Phab 2 Pro will be available at Lowe’s home improvement stores. In the meantime, head over to the Play Store to have a look at the Tango capable apps.

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The Modular Moto Z Range Has Arrived

At the Lenovo Tech World 2016, Lenovo unveiled the second head turner of the day, the Moto Z and all of its brethren. Before we move on to the nitty-gritty about the devices, take a look at a quick spec sheet of the announced devices, below:

Moto Z Moto Z Force
Android Version 6.0.1 Marshmallow 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Chipset Snapdragon 820 — 2.2 GHz Quad-core CPU, Adreno 530 GPU Snapdragon 820 — 2.2 GHz Quad-core CPU, Adreno 530 GPU
Storage 32/64GB UFS, microSD 32/64GB UFS, microSD
Dimensions 153.3 mm x 75.3 mm x 5.19 mm 155.9 mm x 75.8 mm x 6.99 mm
Weight 136 grams 163 grams
Display 5.5 inch 1440p AMOLED, 535 ppi 5.5 inch 1440p AMOLED, 535 ppi
Battery 2600 mAh 3500 mAh
Sensors Accelerometer, Ambient Light, Fingerprint, Reader, Gyroscope, Hall Effect, Magnetometer, Proximity Accelerometer, Ambient Light, Fingerprint, Reader, Gyroscope, Hall Effect, Magnetometer, Proximity
Connectivity USB Type C
No 3mm Jack (USB Type C adapter included)
Bluetooth 4.1
2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
USB Type C
No 3mm Jack (USB Type C adapter included)
Bluetooth 4.1
2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
Rear Camera 13MP, f/1.8 aperture, OIS, Laser AF, Zero Shutter Lag, CCT Dual LED flash, 1.12um pixel 21MP, f/1.8 aperture, OIS, Laser AF, Phase Detection AF, Zero Shutter Lag, CCT Dual LED flash, 1.12um pixel DTI
Front Camera 5MP f/2.2 aperture, Wide-Angle Lens, Flash, 1.4um pixel 5MP f/2.2 aperture, Wide-Angle Lens, Flash, 1.4um pixel

Moto Z

The Moto Z is the successor to the traditional flagship lineup from Motorola, which was previously referred to as the Moto X series of phones. Lenovo’s decision to change the name up falls in line with their decision to change everything else up as well, as the Moto Z is something completely new off Lenovo’s Moto brand, different enough to deserve a distinct naming scheme.

Starting off, the Moto Z claims to be the world’s slimmest premium smartphone (premium being the important word there, as other midrange phones have achieved thinner). Although While, Lenovo did not share any exact measurements on stage, their specifications page lists the depth at 5.19mm. This is achieved at the cost of giving up other physical traits, which we will get to in a bit.

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If you do overlook the thinness of the device, you’ll see that the Moto Z sports a premium metallic construction with rounded corners. On the front of the device is the 5.5” QHD AMOLED display. Below the display, you will find the “moto” branding, along with the square fingerprint scanner. Above the display is the earpiece, which we suspect is the speaker as well as we could not locate the speaker elsewhere on the device. There’s also a 5MP front camera with wide-angle lens and an LED flash above the display.

On the back of the device, you will find the large and unmistakable camera setup. The Moto Z sports a 13MP rear camera with Laser Auto-focus, OIS and dual-tone LED flash. Judging by the most recent Moto line camera ventures, we can expect good results; The camera does protrude by a fair bit, which is a side effect of trimming the waistline. The bottom half of the Moto Z sports a 16-pin connection interface, which will be used for powering and interacting with the MotoMods.

On the bottom of the frame of the Moto Z is the USB Type C port. On the right side, you will find the volume rocker and the power button. On the top is the SIM tray slot, and on the bottom is the USB Type C slot. You will not find any 3.5mm headphone jack on the device because there is none — another of those side effects of making the phone this then. Thankfully, an adapter is included, which should aid in making your transition less painful.

On the inside of the Moto Z is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, coupled with the Adreno 530 GPU for powering that dense QHD display. You get 4GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of expandable storage via a dedicated micro sd card slot. The phone runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and with Motorola’s history, this should be a fairly untouched skin. All of this is powered by a measly 2600 mAh non-removable battery, becoming the worst aspect of a device with a 5.5” QHD display and the top-of-the-line SoC. But for Motorola, that is the plan, as this is where MotoMods comes in.

Moto Z Force

Before we move on to the MotoMods, Motorola also announced the Moto Z Force, a device that makes a lot more sense from a flagship perspective.
The Moto Z Force bumps up the thickness to 7mm from the vanilla Moto Z variant but still has a camera hump. The increase in dimension lets the Moto Z Force bear a larger 3500 mAh battery, although it still does not accommodate a headphone jack. The Moto Z Force also bumps up the display tech by bringing in the flagship feature of the Force line of smartphones — the ShatterShield display tech from Motorola. The camera also receives a bump up to 21MP and adds in PDAF to the existing package of OIS and Laser AF. Both devices have some aggressive fast charging as well.


The new Moto Z and Moto Z Force may seem a bit underwhelming on their own, since the competition does rack up against it. But this is the part where the rest of the family joins in, as the Moto Z and Moto Z Force make use of their 16-pin attachment interface to connect magnetically with MotoMods.

MotoMods are Motorola/Lenovo’s take on modularity and fix a few shortcomings of LG’s existing modular setup. With MotoMod, the modules connect completely externally, which means that you do not need to power down your device or remove the battery. You simply bring them together in the right orientation and the magnets will snap the Mod onto the back of the device.

Motorola showed off three MotoMods on stage:

The Moto Insta-Share Projector adds the abilities of a small projector to your device. The Mod has a built-in 1100mAh battery and a kickstand for angle adjustment. From the look of the Mod, it also has a speaker, although this was not explicitly mentioned on stage.

Image 025

The JBL SoundBoost Mod, as you’d expect, is a speaker with a built-in 1000mAh battery. The Mod also works as a speaker for phone call uses, and has a kickstand to prop up incase you want to use the 5.5” QHD AMOLED displays for videos too.

Image 027

The Incipio Off-Grid Power Pack is a battery pack that snaps onto your Moto Z. The Powerpack adds in 2200 mAh battery to your device, which you will more than likely need with the vanilla Moto Z variant. The Power Pack Mod will also be availble in a wireless charging option, and will have a couple of design options as well.

Image 028

The final Mod displayed on stage is the Style Mod. These mods are cosmetic only back-plates, with different options of fabric, wood and leather.

Image 029

Outside of these finished Mods, Motorola also promised more coming in the future (just like LG did). A few concepts were shown off, like the HyperCharge Mod (Fast Charging 3600 mAh battery pack), OneCompute Mod (Adds on I/O and PC peripheral connectivity) and SmartCast Mod (with multi screen I/O and Laser Keyboard). These are not finalized, and as such, should be treated as such.

Along with the Mods, Motorola also announced the MotoMod Developer Program. This is a platform through which Motorola will invite 3rd party Mod developers. There will be a “simple” certification process to become a part of this. The program will provide access to MDK when it becomes available. Lenovo also announced an Award scheme with prize upto 1 Million USD, although we recommend that all read the fine print for it. You can find more information on the MotoMod Developer Program over here:

The US market will witness the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force as the Moto Z Droid Edition and the Moto Z Force Droid Edition. As expected from the branding addition, both of these will be Verizon exclusive and will launch in Summer of 2016. The unlocked variants of the device will launch in Fall of 2016. Global availability of the device is promised for September 2016, along with the MotoMods which will be available at the same time. No pricing details were revealed yet, and we suspect these to be revealed closer to their availability.

The Moto Z, the Moto Z Force and MotoMod family have certainly put out a good show. The execution of the modularity concept on smartphones feels much better and end-user friendly than on the LG G5 with its “friends”. The ability to simply hot-swap the modules just gives the Moto implementation a good headstart over the LG Friends.

With regards to the Moto Z itself, the device does feel a bit lacklustre for a flagship. Motorola went in for the premium audience with that device thickness, and in the end, sacrificed some practicality. Even though the Moto Z promises to be a flagship, it will lag behind when the next wave of 6GB-RAM totting flagships do roll in. Till then, we hope the device manages to convince the audience enough for a Moto Z2.

What are your thoughts on the Moto Z, the Moto Z Force, and the MotoMods? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Google Wants Machine Learning to Assess Android Malware

Wired conducted an interview with the Android security team and we got to learn about how Google wants to handle Android security in the future. Instead of looking at everything in black and white, Google wants to use their machine learning technology to create “risk profiles” that can be compared to how credit card companies calculate interest rates for each person.

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Google Play App Subscription Split will Reportedly Change to 85/15

It was recently reported that Apple would be adjusting their revenue split from 70/30 to 85/15 for developers who had customers paying for app subscriptions that kept their sub going for 12 months. A new report from Recode says Google will be doing this for app subscriptions as well, but dropping the 12-month requirement. There’s no mention of when this change will go into effect.

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Android Wear v1.5 is Rolling Out to the Samsung Gear Live

Multiple owners of the Samsung Gear Live have reported a new update being pushed to their Android Wear smartwatch. The update will bring your firmware up to version 1.5, but reports say it doesn’t come with any big features. Instead, this is a bug fix update that, among other things, will fix bug that prevents new notifications from being pushed to your smartwatch in real-time.

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Bluetooth 5 is Said to be Announced on June 16th

In a letter from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the organization is getting ready to announce the next version of Bluetooth on June 16th. The letter says it will be called Bluetooth 5 and compared to the previous version, will “double the range and quadruple the speed of low energy Bluetooth transmissions.”

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Opera Wants U.S. Users to Test a Browser Concept App

If you live in the United States and have an Android device, Opera would love to get your thoughts on a new browser concept they have released. The app is called Opera Browser – News & Search, and it can be downloaded from the Play Store right now. Opera says this browser focuses on “delivering you a personalized newsfeed based on your interests and social media connections.”

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Motorola is Updating the 2015 Moto 360 & 360 Sport

Motorola has announced a new update that is being rolled out to both the 2nd generation Moto 360, as well as the Moto 360 Sport. With this update, the Moto Body application will now use your heart rate when calculating how many calories you’ve burned. The update also comes with Android security updates (May 1st), and it includes fix bugs and improve stability.

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No Oxygen Open Source — Personal Apology Regarding Misreporting

Yesterday, we pushed out an article where we claimed that OnePlus had open sourced OxygenOS. The basis of our claim was the recent activity on OnePlus’s github. Based on the information that we had on hand at that exact moment, and a precursory look at the code that indicated a lot of code pulled over from CAF, we wrongly concluded that OnePlus had open sourced part of OxygenOS.

What happened in fact was that OnePlus released the device tree and some HALs for the OnePlus 2. This is still big news by itself, as it will be of great use for 3rd party development efforts on the OnePlus 2. However, it is not in any way related to OnePlus open sourcing their OS.

I, the author, take full responsibility of the factual error in reporting. The information at hand at that point was inconclusive, and due to misinterpretation on my personal end, it was wrongly put up as OxygenOS being open sourced. I usually maintain vigilance on my end, but this was one of those instances where I was caught off-guard. I am but a human, and mistakes were made.

As a journalist, it is my duty to ensure that information disseminated through me is factually correct to the best of my capabilities. I take pride in my work, whether they be smaller articles or bigger opinion pieces. I work hard to earn reputation and I work even harder to maintain it. As such, I deem it a disservice on my end to have been slightly careless with my reporting.

Please accept my personal apology for the incorrect reporting. I will try my best to deliver on the high standards that users expect out of me and out of XDA-Developers. We will strive to make sure instances like these are not repeated.

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