Smartphone 3D – a game changer, or just a passing fad? Guest writer Simon Drew takes a look.
With the resurrection in 3D cinema in recent years with Hollywood hits like Avatar, there has been a big drive by electronics companies to extend the craze to other devices. 3D televisions are now becoming more commonplace and even 3D games consoles are available with the introduction of the Nintendo 3DS.
It is no surprise then that this ‘new’ technology should make its way into the world of mobile phones, and even less of a surprise that HTC would be one of the companies at the helm of this latest development.
Although 3D cinema has been around for several decades, the technology has not really existed until now to take it to a wider arena. The electronics industry is currently undergoing rapid development however, thanks to the ever increasing demand for the latest smartphone gadgetry, and now it is more than feasible to introduce this feature to the world of mobile telephony.
It should be noted that the 3D technology found on the HTC EVO 3D, as with its only current rival the LG Optimus 3D, does not work in the same way as 3D cinema. While the latter requires 3D glasses to be worn for the 3D effect to be achieved, this is no longer a requirement with the relatively recent development of parallax barrier displays.
This system works by placing an undetectable barrier between the user and the screen so that the screen image is only partially displayed. This results in each eye seeing a slightly different image and the resulting disparity being the cause of an apparent third dimension that does not truly exist. While this system means that 3D glasses are no longer required it does have one obvious drawback.
This drawback is that the 3D effect is only achieved when the screen is held at a certain viewing angle. For short term use this is fine, but unless you are able to maintain perfect positioning of your head and the phone screen for extended periods, this will only lead to frustration when trying to engage in longer activities like watching 3D movies.
This is a similar setback to the one found on early handheld colour devices such as the Sega Gamegear. While the Sega handheld console looked more spectacular on paper, it lost out to its monochromatic Nintendo Gameboy rival for this very same reason – the screen was only viewable if you held it in the correct position.
Perhaps this was part of Sega’s downfall as they certainly don’t enjoy the position that they once did in the gaming industry. Should HTC and LG be worried? Maybe, but probably not. Most owners of their smartphones are not impatient school children and both companies have more up their sleeves than just 3D smartphones.
However, it could be a deciding factor in whether or not 3D really takes off in the smartphone industry and becomes a well established niche like music phones or camera phones. There are, no doubt, a great many people who will be keen to get their hands on this latest technological development but, perhaps even more who will not be fully convinced until this drawback is ironed out.
Simon Drew is a Marketing Executive with MD Operations Ltd, an online marketing company based in the UK.
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