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Stereoscopic 3D is the rage in TVs now, with more than half of the new TV models using the technology this year. And now it’s spreading to smartphones as well. South Korean electronics giant LG announced today it will unveil its LG Optimus 3D smartphone on Feb. 14 at the Mobile World Congress event in Europe.
Hollywood is pinning its hopes on 3D as a technology that will revive interest in watching studio fare in theaters. Likewise, smartphone makers like LG see it as an additional feature that might help differentiate their wares in a highly competitive market. But consumer interest in 3D outside the cineplex is far from proven.
LG’s new model will offer a “full 3D experience” to consumers “right in the palm of their hands,” LG said in its breathless but short announcement. The company says it addresses the lack of 3D content — one of the big problems holding back 3D — with a unique experience. The phone will also have a dual-lens camera that can record 3D images as well.
The LG phone will not require users to wear clunky 3D glasses to see images in 3D. The phone will also have high-definition multimedia interface connectors so that you can display the 3D images on a bigger screen. LG’s announcement confirmed leaked images of the 3D phone that were posted last week. I will be interested to see if LG uses technology from MasterImage3D, which showed off good-quality 3D technology at the Consumer Electronics Show.
So far, glasses-free 3D on a TV is a bust. It just doesn’t look that good. But it’s not as hard to make good-quality 3D imagery on a small smartphone screen. The question remains whether people really want to watch 3D on a tiny screen. Nintendo will launch its glasses-free 3D game handheld, the 3DS, in March. I think Nintendo’s device will have a lot of good games. But I’m not convinced that LG and other phone makers will know how to create compelling 3D for smartphone users.