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3D Video Goes Mobile

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), along with the University of Oulu, have created the aptly named "Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation Center" to research, among other things, immersive 3D graphics to make the phone experience resemble interactions in the real world.

The purpose of the Center, which will house about 24 research and development specialists, is to align the pair's MeeGo Linux-based open source platform with 3D, a tech on the brink of making it big. [Ed. note: Or just on the brink, depending on who you ask.] The specific example the companies sited was a 3D hologram of the person on the receiving end of a phone call, capabilities "only found in science fiction movies today."

“3D technology could change the way we use our mobile devices and make our experiences with them much more immersive,” Rich Green, Nokia's senior vice president and chief technical officer said in the release. "Our new joint laboratory with Intel draws on the Oulu research community’s 3D interface expertise, and over time will lay down some important foundations for future mobile experiences."

3D content has been the subject of much hype, especially on the cable TV front, but it has yet to be determined if consumers really care. Mobile represents even more uncharted territory for 3D. Sharp Electronics Corp. will be the first to test the waters when it unveils the Sharp 3D, the first smartphone capable of switching between 2D and 3D without needing glasses before the end of the year. (See Top 10 Non-Android Devices to Watch and Report: 3DTV Not Ready for Prime Time.)

According to consultancy Altman Vilandrie & Company's latest consumer survey, released this week, mobile video is a relatively small market today, but one that will grow as smartphones continue to be adopted. Surprisingly, AV&Co director Jonathan Hurd expects 3D to ultimately be a normal part of the smartphone experience -- just like it will be on the PC and TV. "Using 3D as a differentiator makes video experiences a lot more compelling and it can be something that people ultimately want and expect, just like color," Hurd says, adding that it will be years before this expectation is the norm.

That being said, it won't be as long of a wait as it was for high-definition content, he adds. With HD, operators had to upgrade their infrastructure. For 3D, new equipment -- cameras to film it and displays to decode it or, in the case of smartphones, new capable phones -- are necessary, but the infrastructure remains the same.

Eventually 3D as a feature will creep into all screens. "The same will happen for 3D where someone upgrading their large-screen display may say 'I might as well get 3D, it's not extra, and it's hard to find a 2D-only one when it doesn’t cost that much more to build in 3D capability,'" Hurd says.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

mwp000 12/5/2012 | 4:25:43 PM
re: 3D Video Goes Mobile

Surely 3D games, a la 3DS, would be a more realistic near term use case for 3D displays on handsets

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