Google Tango first hit the consumer market with the launch of the Lenovo PHAB2 Pro last fall, and today marked the announcement of the second Tango-enabled device with the new ZenFone AR.
But one thing that has been holding Google Tango back as of yet has been the lack of compelling applications that take advantage of the Tango hardware. Now, Google says that dozens of Tango-enabled apps should be hitting the Play Store over the next few months.
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Johnny Lee, the Director of Engineering for Google Tango, said the following at ASUS Zennovation event at CES 2017:
In addition to growing the number of Tango enabled hardware devices, we expect dozens of Tango enabled apps to be coming out in the next few months. Already in the Google Play Store are a few classic games with AR twists on them. This includes games like Hot Wheels and Dominos. And there’s also utility apps that help you visualize products in your place, like Wayfarer and Lowes.
Johnny Lee demoed one new app for Tango at the event: an app from GAP that lets you visualize how clothing sizes and fit. For an idea of the Tango experiences available right now, check out Google’s Play Store collection of apps — currently totaling 32.
Toward the end of Johnny’s segment, he further reassured us that Google is actively working to engage developers and help them make better apps and games:
So, in through 2017 we will be heavily focused on developers, finding new partners who are really want to create new and great experiences and continue to refine the technology, making things better and increasing the capabilities or APIs leading ultimately to richer apps and games.
It goes without saying that this is good (and necessary) news for Tango, but the Tango app ecosystem is still in its infancy. It’s still to be seen if the coming apps can make the platform compelling for consumers and for Android OEMs who are considering making their own Tango-enabled devices. That said, the ZenFone AR is definitely the most compelling Tango device yet.