3D Smartphones Coming to a Pocket Near You

When was the last time you were sitting somewhere and some “sharable moment” happened in front of you and you exclaimed, “I wish I could capture and share this in 3D!”?

3D imaging has been around for a while—everywhere from Disney rides to cheap promotional gimmicks to magazine features––but over the last year or so, we have seen an array of 3D devices popping up on shelves: 3D TVs, smartphones, gaming devices, still and video cameras. Why? What consumer zombie woke up one day and said “3D, must have it now!”?

Assuming that the humble smartphone masses aren’t uttering that comment daily, the 3D phone announcements last week at the CTIA Wireless show may seem odd. These devices are capable of capturing 3D video and images as well as displaying 3D graphics without the need for 3D glasses.

One has to wonder if the drive is due to consumer desire or corporate motivations to sell a new widget at a higher price. Either way, the availability of 3D-capable mobile devices adds another level of complexity to the mobile marketing world. Not only do marketers have to invest in multiple operating systems, now they have to plan development around 3D graphics in conjunction with standard and high definition.

Let’s review for a moment the current state of the smartphone market. There are oodles of devices taking on the BlackBerry, iOS, WebOS, Windows, and Android flavors with different arrangements of the same performance specifications. Standout smartphones usually take on a new form or introduce a new operating system or new feature to the market. With so many phones and so little technical variation, introducing 3D technology to smartphones feels like a natural progression.

Last week, AT&T and Sprint announced two smartphones packing 3D graphic power: AT&T’s LG Thrill (aka Optimus 3D) and Sprint’s HTC EVO 3D. Both phones are basically the same unit with 3D graphic power, but I will reserve my final judgment until the hands-on reviews come out later this year.

Bottom line, 3D appears to be a growing trend and not the fad many had expected. If 3D stays, marketers, designers, and production operations will have to account for this new technology and factor it in to the marketing bag of tricks.


Author: John Carew


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