Mobile 3D Screens on the Way, Sans Glasses

TOKYO—The 3D craze is simultaneously growing and shrinking. Big-screen TVs that enable 3D viewing are already in the stores, with more on the way, but soon you’ll also be able to enjoy 3D content on mobile devices—assuming you want to, that is.

Sharp Corp. just demoed a series of mobile 3D liquid crystal displays that, according to TVNewsCheck, “showed 3-D animation, touch-panel screens that switched from one 3-D photo to another and a display connected to a 3-D video camera,” all of them delivering “bright, clear imagery without the cumbersome glasses usually required for such technology.” The bad news, says the site, is that they only work on a 3-inch screen held one foot away from the viewer’s face.

Still, the evolution of 3D in the direction of glassless viewing holds out the promise of “pop-up e-mail messages and taking 3-D photos of friends,” according to the site. “The technology is likely to show up in the next DSi portable game machine, which Nintendo Co. says will be 3-D.”

Sharp Executive Managing Officer Yoshisuke Hasegawa said that the technology will also be applied to TVs in the near future, and augured that 3D will “replace two-dimensional displays the same way color replaced black-and-white in movies and television.”

"The arrival of mobile 3-D is just around the corner," he told reporters.

The ability to project 3D images without the need for glasses is possible, Sharp says, because of new technology developed by the Osaka-based company that shoots different images into each eye. Incredibly, “the displays can continue to show 3-D images when they are turned to the side, a key feature for smartphones.”

Mass production of the 3D LCDs is supposed to begin within the next six months.