If 3-D in movies make you sick and 3-D TVs seem out of this world for your living room, consider a 3-D cellphone.
It’s not that far-fetched. Nintendo has already debuted the Nintendo 3DS, a handheld game console that sports a 3.5-inch 3-D display — about the same size as modern smartphones. With fast graphics processing capabilities and a screen technology that can produce 3-D effects without requiring consumers to wear any special glasses, cellphones might just be the latest frontier for the third dimension.
“One hundred percent of handset manufacturers are evaluating 3-D behind the scenes,” says James Bower, president of MasterImage 3-D, a Burbank, California, company that makes 3-D displays. “Everyone wants a glasses-free 3-D experience.
The first 3-D cellphone could be available in the United States next year, he says.
As cellphone processors become more powerful and telecom carriers introduce 4G networks capable of transporting more data, 3-D could charm consumers who are looking for more entertainment and functionality from their handheld devices.
Last year, Japanese wireless carrier KDDI started selling the first commercially available 3-D cellphone, called the Hitachi Woo. More than 300,000 devices were sold in in just a few weeks. The Woo’s 3-D display, powered by masterImage, uses a parallax barrier, a layer that’s placed over an LCD screen to help produce the feeling of depth by directing slightly different images to each eye.
“We can create a 3-D experience in pretty much any kind of screen including LCD and OLED,” says Bowers.