The Asus Zenfone AR, the first smartphone in the world to support Google Daydream and Tango, has been launched in India. With the launch, the world has finally gotten a glimpse of the smartphone and the specs it offers. The handset was first unveiled at CES 2017 earlier this year.
The Zenfone AR will feature a set of sensors and cameras that enable the smartphone users to explore the world of augmented reality with the use of Tango apps. The handset will also be supporting the Daydream platform as well as access to multiple apps that support Daydream.
Other than the AR/VR support, Asus is making the cameras on the Zenfone AR a main selling point for the smartphone. The device features a 23-megapixel rear sensor that is further supported with impressive features such as dual-PDAF, laser autofocus, OIS, EIS, motion tracking depth and sensing cameras and infrared rangefinder.
In terms of the smartphone’s design, the Zenfone AR sports a premium-crafted metallic body that exudes style and elegance. The smartphone also has a fingerprint sensor on the home button, serving as an extra security measure.
Besides the specifications mentioned above, Asus Zenfone AR has a flurry of other impressive features. The device runs on Asus’ latest ZenUI 3.0 operating system that is based on the Android 7.0 Nougat. It sports a QHD (1440 x 2560p) Super AMOLED display that is reinforced with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. The impressive display resolution means that the smartphone offers vivid colours and deep blacks which further elevates the Tango and Daydream experience on the device.
Optimizing the phone for Google Tango and Daydream VR, the smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC with two cores clocked at 2.34GHz and two cores clocked at 1.6GHz. The powerful cores are coupled with 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM to ensure flawless performance.
Asus Zenfone AR Updates Brings Android Pay to the Smartphone
According to PHAndroid, Asus has scheduled a large software update for the Zenfone AR, which will bring numerous software additions to the smartphone. One of the highlights of the upcoming update is the inclusion of the Android Pay application to the device. However, the app will only appear in regions where Android Pay is currently usable.
Besides the addition of Android Pay to the smartphone, the update from Asus will also come with a lot of app shuffling. To ensure easier updates in the future, several pre-installed apps will be removed from the system and transferred to Google Play. Quentyn Kennemer from PHAndroid provides a complete list of changes that are inbound on the Asus Zenfone AR, as listed below:
- Preload BeautyLive App.
- Security patch update to 201705
- Addition of Android Pay app (only available in countries that support Android Pay)
- The following third-party apps are added: Towers for Tango, Twilight Pioneers, Marvel Future Fight, Asphalt 8.
- The Do It Later app and all data stored in the app will be removed after the system upgrade, hence data backup before upgrading the device is advised.
- ZenFit app and all associated information will be removed after the system upgrade and can be downloaded again from the Google Play Store.
- Save the photos you want to the smartphone’s Gallery as all photos and other files related to the PhotoCollage app will be removed upon the system upgrade. To use PhotoCollage again, you can download it from Google Play Store.
- Ensure that all movies and videos are exported to the Gallery as the Minimovie and all related files will be removed after the system upgrade. Minimovie can be found and downloaded again on Google Play Store.
- Archer E Bowman, Hunters Gate, and Wands will be removed.
Asus mentions that the update will take up to a week to reach your device, but you can speed up its arrival by heading to Settings > About > System Updates.
Asus Zenfone AR Launched in Taiwan; Global Release Later in the Year
First unveiled at the CES 2017 in January, the Asus Zenfone AR has finally made its official appearance in the Taiwanese market. A global launch is expected to come in the second half of the year.
The Zenfone AR is the world’s first smartphone that is compatible with both Google’s Daydream virtual reality platform and Google’s augmented reality (AR) technology, Tango. Like the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the phone supports Tango apps including games that superimpose virtual objects on real-world environments, home decorating apps that allow you to virtually match a piece of furniture to a designated space, and other augmented reality apps.
Furthermore, the Zenfone AR’s can also work with Google’s Daydream View virtual reality headset as well as future headsets designed to support the Daydream platform. Being able to support both VR and AR technology potentially opens up new opportunities for developers to create apps that can utilise both platforms.
Besides the ability to support Google’s AR and VR platforms, the smartphone also features many premium specifications including a 5.7-inch, a QHD Super AMOLED (2560 X 1440p) display, up to 8GB of RAM (one of only two smartphones offering this feature), up to 256GB of expandable storage, and a 3,300mAh battery.
However, the most impressive physical feature on the Zenfone AR is its tri-camera system at the back. There is a 23MP camera for snapping photos, enhanced with optical and electronic image stabilization, 3x zoom, and a dual LED flash bulb. The two complementary cameras are made to support Tango, whereby one measures depth while the other detects motion. The front camera is an 8MP shooter equipped with a dual LED flash.
International pricing and release dates of the Zenfone AR are yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to be released by the end of 2017.
Asus Zenfone AR is set to be world's slimmest Tango smartphone
(Image Credit: http://www.itechpost.com/)
As the release date of Asus Zenfone AR draws near, people are right to be excited about this upcoming Asus smartphone because it boasts the ability to support project Tango, Google's mobile augmented reality platform. The Asus Zenfone AR has been said to be the lightest and thinnest device ever that can run project Tango. Thanks to its own proprietary TriCam system, it is actually a 23MP PixelMaster 3.0 primary camera, a motion-tracking camera, and an infrared camera in a specific configuration that is designed to reduce footprints within the smartphone.
Basically, this special technology makes it possible for the Asus Zenfone AR to support DayDream, Google's virtual reality platform. Aside from its ability to support AR and VR environment, the Asus Zenfone AR sports serious firepower that easily makes it as one of the most well-equipped smartphones in the market. Utilizing the combination of Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 and Adreno 530, it guarantees to run a fully immersive VR experience without any hiccup. In other words, it will not struggle as it runs everything smoothly. In addition, it also incorporates high-fidelity sensors for more accurate head tracking.
As if it is not enough, it even sports an 8GB of RAM, a 5.7-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440 resolution), and a highly capable 5-magnet speaker system. Furthermore, the Asus Zenfone AR employs a vapor cooling system so that it can run more efficiently without encountering the problem of overheating.
Future of Augmented Reality Seems Bright with Asus Zenfone AR
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Asus is known as one of the first companies to explore the potential of augmented reality (AR). The brand continues its AR ventures with the Asus Zenfone AR and the initial results seem impressive thus far. Although the Zenfone AR is not the first smartphone from Asus to feature AR capabilities - Asus launched its first Tango-enabled smartphone, the Phab 2 Pro in early 2016 - Asus made a strong impact at this year's CES with the unveiling of the Asus Zenfone AR which also supports Google's Project Tango. The Zenfone AR smartphone is predicted to appeal to a niche audience.
The Zenfone AR runs on the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system so that it can handle Tango-based apps smoothly. To access these apps on the device however, users will require a specialised app store from which they can download Tango-related apps.
With the Zenfone AR having the ability to support Google’s Tango, users are given a first-hand experience of real-time AR and a glimpse of what the technology can bring in the future. One example of the AR apps available is the BMW app that projects a virtual BMW car in front of the user. This enables users to take a virtual tour of interior and exterior of the car with perfect detail. Not only does the app allow you to see the physical features of the car, it also enables you to interact with the stereo system of the car, all via AR technology.
The Zenfone AR is seen as one of the successful pioneer initiatives of the mobile industry, paving the way for developers to incorporate AR technology into smartphones in the future. Many industries are gradually beginning to embrace AR technology, signifying its growing importance in the not-so-distant future. Companies such as Facebook and Apple are already undergoing extensive research to possibly feature AR as part of their future services.