Google using Apple’s PrimeSense in ‘Project Tango’ smartphone, beating Apple to the punch


Google has beat Apple to the punch by using PrimeSense’s Capri PS1200 3D imaging system-on-a-chip in the Project Tango smartphone, before Apple could in its iPhone line-up, the teardown specialists over at iFixit found.

PrimeSense is the 3D technology sensing company Apple acquired for $350 million late-November 2013, and its chips weren’t expected to be found in Google’s Project Tango smartphone given the fierce competition between the two companies. Only Movidius Myriad 1 3D-sensing chips were expected, but Apple’s PrimeSense showed up as well…

iFixit writes in its teardown post:

This appears to be PrimeSense’s new Capri PS1200 SoC 3D imaging chip, unexpected for a couple of reasons:

Just last year, Apple bought PrimeSense, manufacturer of the Kinect’s 3D vision hardware. Speculators assumed we would be seeing this hot new hardware in an upcoming iOS device, with intent of mapping 3D spaces. Looks like Tango beat Apple to the punch with their own tech?

Of course, it’s more than likely Google partnered with PrimeSense before Apple made the acquisition, but that doesn’t make things less awkward.


The Project Tango smartphone is made by the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) at Google, aiming to build a visual map of rooms using 3D scanning and to track motion. The handset is currently with developers for limited testing, and with Apple technology inside, could show what may be heading to future versions of the iPhone.

The teardown also revealed the Project Tango works similar to Microsoft’s original Kinect motion tracking gadget. It uses all of its sensors to create a grid of dots that it measures to calculate distance. There’s also a Snapdragon 800 processor and 5-inch display powering the regular smartphone duties.


Apple isn’t tipped to include motion tracking on the upcoming iPhone 6 this fall, however with competition from Google and soon Amazon, we wouldn’t doubt the company is cooking up something behinds it closed doors.

[via MacRumors]