Google, LG announce a 3-D tablet

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Google, LG announce a 3-D tablet

LG Electronics will manufacture a tablet that renders three-dimensional effects, Google reportedly said during its I/O developers conference Thursday. The goal is to launch the device next year, the U.S. tech company said.

It was the first time Google announced a plan regarding the commercialization of a 3-D-enabled product, which the company hopes will be a game changer in the tablet market dominated by Apple and Samsung Electronics.

LG’s partnership with Google started with smartphones, and the Korean company, jockeying for the No. 3 position in the global smartphone market, made Google’s Nexus 4 and 5 models, as well as its own.

It later expanded the partnership into tablets, collaborating on the G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition. Google also unveiled the G Watch, a smartwatch it created with LG, during the conference earlier this week.

If the project materializes, the 3-D tablet could help shift the focus of competition in the tablet market from picture quality to user experience. LG did not comment on the plan to develop the 3-D tablet.

The 3-D tablet is part of Google’s Project Tango, launched with the purpose of developing 3-D-enabled tablets and smartphones. Earlier this month, Google distributed Project Tango’s developer kit, seeking cooperation from developers in applications and algorithms using the project’s platform.

According to the specs of the tablet disclosed earlier by Google, it is equipped with two cameras positioned at a 13-degree angle for 3-D mapping and a depth sensor. It also features a full high-definition display, new Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory. The tablet runs on the latest Android 4.4 KitKat mobile operating system. The prototype tablet distributed to the developers was priced at $1,024, although the price of the products for consumers is yet to be set.

Earlier this year, Google also distributed Project Tango smartphones to 200 developers.

“We want to give devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion,” Johnny Chung Lee, a leading technician at Project Tango, told the conference on Thursday, according to Computerworld.com. “You, sitting in your seat, roughly understand the size of the room. That’s remarkable, but we take it for granted every day. ... Using 3-D sensors and cameras, we can give that sense of place to devices.”

Google demonstrated the prototype and some of the functions it was capable of, such as making a 3-D image of parts of the building around it.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Google engineers hope the 3-D tablet will be able to gather enough information to help create 3-D games and “fantasy lands.”

BY moon gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]




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