Like the rest of its consumer electronics peers, Toshiba too is betting big on 3D. But its romance with 3D has been of the glasses-free variety from its very inception. The company holds the distinction of being the first to market with an autostereoscopic 3DTV and has also been seen lugging a glasses-free 3D notebook protoype at recent trade shows. According to Digitimes, the world could see the launch of glasses-less 3D notebooks from Toshiba as early as the second half of 2011.
Toshiba is quite far along when it comes to large autostereoscopic 3D displays. After all, it raised the curtain on the world’s first glasses-free 3D TVs as recently as October at the Ceatec electronics show in Tokyo; two of those TVs have since been launched in Japan. So it should surprise absolutely no one if Tosh also secures the bragging rights for unveiling the first notebook capable of spitting “dead-zone free stereoscopic 3D images” without the need for any special glasses.
The company is about to do precisely that at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Apparently, the glasses-free notebook prototype it's bringing to CES wears the familiar Qosmio badge and combines eye-tracking technology with a parallax 3D LCD display to create the glasses-less 3D effect. The company is targeting an end of the year release for the 3D Qosmio.
Consumer electronics vendors are currently busy burying the public consciousness under an avalanche of 3D products, but what’s next? It is probably too early to ask that question as another wave of 3D gadgets and gizmos looms. We are talking about 3D of the glasses- and deadzone-free variety.
“With an eye-tracking system that captures viewers' eyeball movements, AUO's deadzone-free naked eye 3D technology overcomes the confined viewing angles of conventional 3D displays,” AUO said in a release.
“Regardless of location, the viewers will be able to perceive 3D images of equally high quality. Not only will there be better 3D images to see, the audience will also feel much more comfortable not having to be confined by viewing angles.”
Not only do AUO’s 3D panels support simultaneous operation of both 2D and 3D modes, but can also switch back and forth between the two.
There has been an addition to the list of upcoming autostereoscopic (glasses-free 3D) devices. The latest addition is of the portable variety. Supernova X1 is a 3D-capable tablet prototype that does not rely on 3D glasses for its mojo. Engadget's Chinese site was the first to get a glimpse of this tablet prototype from China's Rockchip.
However, not a lot is known about the Supernova X1 at this point in time apart from the fact that the glasses-free 3D effect can be adjusted (or even disabled) in much the same way as the Nintendo 3DS. Rockchip will unveil this tablet at the upcoming IFA 2010 event in Germany.
While a spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the report, she acknowledged that glasses-free 3D was part of its plans. Toshiba had showcased a similar display earlier this year. That particular glasses-free display featured a multi-parallax design. Such an approach allows for a wide viewing angle as images are adjusted depending on the viewer's position.
Here's a buzzword to remember: Autostereoscopic. What is it? Put simply, it's a type of display that allows for 3D content without having to wear any funny looking glasses, and several major manufacturers are jumping on board. Toshiba is one of the first out of the gates with an autostereoscopic high-definition display, which measures 21 inches and supports a 1280x800 pixel resolution (WXGA).
"To date most 3D products have used special glasses to separate a picture into two images: one for the left eye and the other for the right eye," Toshiba explains. "But the market has strongly desired a more versatile and glasses-free approach that could be used anywhere. This new product employs an integral imaging system (a “light field” display) to reproduce a real object as a 3D image that can be viewed without glasses over a wide range of viewing angles. Therefore, the display is suitable for 3D monitors used for advertisements and entertainment appliances."
Toshiba says its new 21-inch display adopts a lens sheet to control reduction in surface luminance intensity so that it's every bit as bright as a standard 2D display. When it will ship and for how much remains to be seen, but Toshiba isn't alone here. Both Sharp and Hitachi are working on autosterescopic 3D displays of their own, though on a smaller scale. Word on the Web is that one or both of these manufacturers will provide the 3D panel for Nintendo's upcoming 3DS handheld.
Autostereoscopic. Ever heard that term before? Philips hopes you'll be hearing a lot more of it, and yesterday announced a line of Quad Full Autostereoscopic 3D HDTVs during a 3D event in Hollywood.
A Quad-HDTV means it's screen resolution checks in at 3840x2160 (8.29 million pixels), or four times that of the highest HDTV standard, and otherwise known as 2160P. Combined with autostereoscopic technology, the end result is that 3D images can be made to look believable without having to wear those funky glasses or other specialized headgear. Instead, images target a specific eye, but rather than require a strict viewing angle, Philips says its 56-inch HD 3D display has a generous 160-degree viewing angle.
As expected, first-run products won't come cheap with early rumblings putting this TV in the $25,000 ballpark. But Philips isn't the only one pushing 3D technology - Toshiba and Sanyo have both said they're working on competing autostereoscopic displays, which could drive down the price if this technology takes off.