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Will Lenovo’s new smartphone bring augmented reality to the masses?

Lenovo has introduced the Phab2 Pro, a smartphone that will enable B2B marketers to deploy augmented reality experiences to promote their products and services.

The device uses Tango, a Google technology that senses and maps its surroundings, placing virtual objects in the real world.

"Tango enables our devices to sense physical motion and space and, as a result, has the power to change how we interact with our surroundings,” said Johnny Lee, engineering director at Google. “We believe that devices with positional tracking functionality will be pervasive and are happy that the Phab2 Pro will introduce these new capabilities, making your phone even more useful."

Announced at its tech show in San Francisco, Lenovo demonstrated the power of the phone, showcasing how consumers can virtually remodel their homes. But businesses can also take advantage. Lowe’s, for example, has already developed a Tango-enabled application that will allow its customers to measure spaces and visualize how products like appliances and décor, or materials like countertops or backsplash tile, will all look and fit together in a room.

The most obvious use cases for B2B marketers include training, trade shows and events, as well as out of home and billboard experiences. But imagine how you could leverage the technology if you sell healthcare or manufacturing equipment. Think of the possibilities!

Augmented reality technology has had a few setbacks in the last couple of years (Google Glass, anyone?), but according to Lenovo, its new mobile device will pull it into the mainstream.

“Put simply, we wanted to take what was an amazing concept and transform it into a commercially viable mobile device,” said Jeff Meredith, VP-general manager of Android and Chrome Computing at Lenovo. “From the moment we saw Tango, we knew it could become pervasive, just like GPS. However, to truly make the Phab2 Pro a game-changer, we developed it at an affordable price for mainstream consumers, delivering not just a bleeding-edge phone, but an all-around fantastic phone that’s first to market.”

The device, starting at $499, is set to hit the U.S. market in September.