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(Pocket-lint) - Google's Project Tango, which captures 3D images of the real world and converts them into virtual, is coming to a smartphone made by Lenovo.

This is the first time a manufacturer and Google have been linked for a consumer smartphone with Project Tango. The previous version was a tablet Google made with Nvidia.

The smartphone will be under 6.5-inches and look similar to the photo above. It will be running a Qualcomm chipset as Google has teamed up with the company for this project.

The Project Tango smartphone will be able to use its cameras to measure a room in 3D, recognise places the phone has been left before and also overlay augmented reality objects on the screen. This should also allow for accurate indoor tracking, ideal for places like shopping centres.

An incubator has also launched that will encourage developers to submit 3D scanning game and app ideas. So expect there to be plenty to do with this new generation of phones when they arrive. We say that in plural as Intel is also selling a $400 phone and dev kit that uses its RealSense 3D scanning smarts.

Could this be the start of a new generation of smartphone? It's certainly another big step into the ever more popular world of augmented reality. Expect pricing and release date to follow soon.

READ: Google cuts price of Project Tango tablet in half but keeps it developer-only

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Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 8 January 2016.