LG Arora

3D Phones? Come On, Really?

Maybe 60 years ago the headline was Colour TVs? Come On, Really? And a few years before that it was Sound In Movies? Come On, Really? But seriously, come on, really? My point is, 3D at the movies and especially 3D in the home, hasn’t really taken off. What gives them the impression that it will work on mobile phones? Google certainly doesn’t support 3D in Android yet and there aren’t many apps(if any) that have anything to do with 3D in the Android Market.

LG Optimus 3D

LG is going to unveil the worlds first full 3D smartphone capable of 3D photography and video recording at Mobile World Congress(MWC) 2011. The phone also features a glasses-free LCD 3D display. The thing about 3D is that it’s not everywhere. Where are you going to view these movies and photos? On your phone’s ~4″ screen only? On the 3D  TV that you probably don’t have yet? Granted, there are some 3D TVs, photo-frames and laptops on the way and already on the market, but they cost a lot. This 3D phone is like an invitation for an expensive ride that’s going to crash.

It’s future proof though, right? Not even close. First, there’s no guarantee that this 3D phone thing will take off. We might remember it as one of the great flops of 2011.  Second, 3D hasn’t really been standardised. So the kind of 3D that this phone produces and displays may not be the one used by everyone else, making it redundant.

The ultimate questions are, does a 3D user interface have advantages over 2D interfaces to justify the price? Are videos or pictures that much better? Like the difference between black/white and colour, SD and HD, day and night?

Phone screens are small and you interact with them; tap, flick, swipe, long press etc – effectively obscuring your view of the display partially. They are also flat; 2D with a width and a height. Introducing depth in the UI without extra screen real-estate is a formula for disaster. Unless it’s just a cosmetic change and that makes whole thing pretty pointless.

3D phones are a gimmick not worth paying for. I wonder when coffee making holography phones are going to be announced? It’s about time!

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