June 5 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. introduced a tablet computer designed to help developers build three-dimensional applications, as the company works to push the technology onto mobile devices.
The 7-inch device is part of an effort dubbed Project Tango, which Google rolled out in February to advance 3-D technology. The tablet, which will let developers create and test new programs, is loaded with cameras and other gear to help capture 3-D images of its surroundings, be that at home or in a business, opening up potential uses for game players, shoppers or the disabled. The tablet, which isn’t aimed at consumers, will go on sale later this year for $1,024 and will be available only in limited quantities.
Google, which makes the Android software that is the No. 1 smartphone operating system, wants to expand features on mobile gadgets as rivals step up efforts to build 3-D devices. Facebook Inc. agreed to spend about $2 billion earlier this year to acquire virtual-reality goggles maker Oculus VR Inc., with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg calling the technology a “platform of tomorrow.”
“The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion,” Google said on its website for the new tablet. “Project Tango devices contain customized hardware and software designed to track the full 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment.”
Project Tango began with a smartphone that developers can access for building new applications. Google is encouraging new applications that can include a wide range of services. For example, a smartphone could capture the images of a living room before a consumer heads to a furniture store to see how a sofa or coffee table would look back at home. New apps could also provide imagery and sensors for tracking locations inside a building, ensuring visitors won’t get lost.
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