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Google exploits Apple's technology for its Project Tango

Posted: 02 May 2014  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:iFixit  Google  Project Tango  PrimeSense 

iFixit has given Google's Project Tango a looksee and found a component that belongs to the search giant's closest competitor in the OS playing field, Apple.

Google's platform is designed to track the 3D motion of smartphones and tablets based on the Android OS. And one of the key chips designed to carry out that very function appears to be a 3D imaging chip from PrimeSense, an Israeli company that Apple acquired last year. iFixit raises the question of whether "Tango beat Apple to the punch with their own technology."

PrimeSense chip in Project Tango

The Capri PS1200 SoC 3D imaging chip from PrimeSense. (Source: iFixit)

The iFixit team also points out that PrimeSense's 3D imaging chip sits alongside a pair of Myriad 1 vision co-processors from Movidius, which has been touted as the "ultra-low-power successor to PrimeSense's 3D throne." However, Tango's design packs a powerful, compact 3,000mAh battery because of the low-power requirements of Movidius's vision co-processors.

To access the battery, iFixit used a thumbnail to pop off the rear cover of the smartphone with a five-inch LCD screen and determined that Google focused on the guts of the phone, not its aesthetics.

The Tango platform is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, the 8974, which provides up to 2.3GHz per core.

Tango derives its motion-tracking capabilities from InvenSense's MPU-9150, a system in package (SiP) that combines two chips: The MPU-6050, which contains a three-axis gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer, and an onboard digital motion processor capable of processing complex nine-axis MotionFusion algorithms; and the AK8975, a three-axis digital compass.

And its memory design includes a 2GB LPDDR3 RAM chip from Elpida, the FA164A1PB; a pair of 16-Mbit low-voltage serial flash memory ICs dubbed A25L016 from AMIC Technology Corp. of Taiwan; and SanDisk's SDIN7DP4-64G 64GB iNAND flash memory.

iFixit Project Tango teardown

The Tango platform can handle a powerful 3,000 mAh battery, which is still large for a smartphone but smaller than other battery pack solutions, thanks to the ultra-low-power requirements of Movidius's vision coprocessors. (Source: iFixit)

Its 64GB of internal storage is expandable through a microSD card slot, though the teardown didn't reveal how high that figure can go.

The device also includes Skyworks' 77629 power amplifier module that supports 2.5G and 3G/4G handsets and operates efficiently in GSM, EGPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, and LTE modes.

- Ismini Scouras
  EE Times





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