Will The Next Mobile Devices Be 3D?

On April 9th, Sharp Corp. unveiled a new 3D technology that doesn’t require the user to wear any special glasses, and produces an image that is as bright as a standard LCD screen. And guess where these new screens will be used first…

Within the next six months, Sharp will begin mass producing small displays designed for mobile devices. And they predict that it won’t be long before the technology becomes the standard on mobile displays.

A very likely first destination for the Sharp 3D screens would be the recently announced Nintendo 3DS, the company’s next mobile gaming console which will reportedly offer “3D effects without the need for any special glasses…” Although little has been said about the new gaming device, the timing of Sharp’s production and the 3DS announcement, as well as the descriptions used by both companies seems to be more than just coincidence. But Sharp obviously has its sights set on the smart phone world, where 3D graphics can literally bring a new dimension to user interaction.

Sharp has tried to target the mobile audience with 3D technology before. In 2002, they introduced the first generation of the technology. But technical limitations, such as the display being too dim, too big, and unable to rotate orientation, resulted in the technology getting little attention. This time, however, both the technology and the timing are much better. Not only is the display much lighter, brighter, and usable, but they are also riding the smart phone explosion that was started by the iPhone and re-energized by Andriod. And the product is being released during a time that 3D is suddenly on everyone’s mind. First we have the blockbuster movie Avatar in 3D. And then we have Sony’s 3D LCT TVs, which will be released in June. The Sony 3D TVs will arrive in households just in time for the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, which may not be that big in the US, but is a huge part of life almost everywhere else in the world (think Super Bowl level excitement, but lasting a full month and capturing over 700 million viewers for the final game). Nothing like the highest grossing movie ever paired with the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world to prime consumers for 3D.

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