Project Tango is Google’s computer vision initiative that seeks to equip consumer devices with consistent and useful environmental tracking capabilities. Google thinks that the platform could be useful for virtual and augmented reality too, and is encouraging developers to start experimenting by adding an AR/VR track to the Project Tango dev contest.

Project Tango technical lead Johnny Lee announced the development contest during his Tango update presentation at Google I/O 2015 last week. Each of the three tracks in the contest—Utility, AR/VR, and Entertainment—will see the following seed money broken into three qualifying rounds:

  • $1,024 – 16 selected proposals
  • $2,048 – 4 selected working prototypes
  • $4,096 – 1 selected final app

Finally, there will be one contest-wide grand prize winner that will receive $8,192. So, assuming you take home the grand prize, you’ll walk away with $15,360 in total. Google says the total cash value up for grabs across all tracks is $95,000 and Lee noted that he hopes it “won’t be the last contest we run.”

Project Tango Developer Contest

Entries in the Tango developer contest opened as of the contest’s announcement last week. Key dates for the contest include:

  • Proposal Entry Deadline: June 25th
  • Final APK Entry: September 23rd

Full contest rules can be found here, including a more detailed breakdown of the contest’s timeline. The grand prize winner will be announced in October.

google-project-tango-developer-tablet-contestAlthough Lee called Project Tango “interesting” for virtual reality, he admitted that the current table development kit wasn’t optimized for it, saying that “…these tablets were not designed for VR, they have high latency, they don’t have quite the right rendering stack, but from a sensor and tracking standpoint, they seem to be performing relatively well.” As the company becomes increasingly focused on virtual reality, however, it’s possible that we’ll see VR optimizations in the future.

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See Also: Google Wants to Use Tango Tech for VR, But Admits Current Dev Kits Aren’t Optimized

A video from Google demonstrations the tablet’s positional tracking and mapping capabilities on scales that range from a room to a building to a city.

Prior to the contest’s announcement, the Tango Tablet Development Kit was available only on a select basis. However, the company has now opened the device up for sale to anyone interested in developing for the platform. The dev kit runs $512, which Lee called a “pretty aggressive price point” given the device’s specs.

Google’s ultimate goal is to see Project Tango technology in tablets and smartphones alike. To that end, the company announced a new reference device built on Snapdragon and made in partnership with Qualcomm. The smartphone-sized unit is packed with the sensors needed to bring Tango’s tracking tech to your pocket.


“So these MDP platforms are the reference designs provided to device manufacturers to accelerate the design of their next generation phones using Qualcomm chipsets,” Lee said, but warned that only a handful would be made and distributed to OEMs and the like. Presumably further down the road, the company will offer a Tango smartphone development kit similar to the reference design.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • ORParga

    Hi! Im new in Vr. in Fact, my oculusv rift arrived Last Tuesday. Im very interested in buy a Tango Dev Kit… But your link is broken… And the links to Google play in project Tango Page are also broken.. Realy Google is selling this tablet yet? Where can I buy it?

    • Paul James


      Seems it is genuinely broken on Google’s site. The root developer page is here:

      ..if you click ‘Buy a Dev Kit’ you receive a 404.

      I’m afraid we’ll have to wait until Google have fixed the issue at their end.


    “Rendered visions of the future are not used.” Google, we love you for this.

  • kramer101

    Available in US only!! well, that sux google.