A View from David Zax
A 3-D Tablet
Glimpses of the technology, which should be available in 2013.
Because no gadget, work of art, or experience is complete without a 3-D option, you can soon expect to see the third dimension coming to a tablet near you. This week, the LA Times went hands on with one of the more promising offerings in the offing: a Qualcomm tablet that uses MasterImage’s 3-D display. (Full name: “Cell-Matrix Parallax Barrier Technology.”)
One interesting feature of MasterImage’s tech is that they’ve decided to keep doors open: their screens can be implemented on iOS, Android, or Windows. In a confirmation of the importance of mobile, their strategy is to focus on handheld screens, for now. “Our technology can go bigger,” said Matt Liszt to the LAT. “But we really do want to focus on having the most beautiful, wonderful experience on the smartphones and tablets.”
Liszt refused to go into details about licensing, beyond saying that a “few deals” are in the works, and that we could expect to see tablets featuring his company’s tech by early 2013. No word either on how much this premium feature would cost you on a given smartphone or tablet.
A video or two surfaced of the tablet at the Mobile World Conference back in February. I’m not one to drool over screens, typically, but the MasterImage 3-D pulls off an unusual feat–conveying its high resolution even within the confines of a YouTube video. See for instance, this one from MiniPCPro.
Although, as mentioned, the screen could work on any device, the one that’s been making the rounds is Qualcomm’s MDP Tablet 3D Edition. That device runs a Snapdragon S4 processor. “The advanced multimedia features of Snapdragon processors allow MasterImage 3D’s technology to come to life, showing OEMs, mobile operators and the content community that viable and compelling technology is available here and now,” Qualcomm’s Raj Talluri told Mashable.
As befits a 3-D company, MasterImage is headquartered in Hollywood, CA, with offices in the UK, Korea, China, and Japan, per its website. The tablet tech is one of many product offerings of the company: check out this digital 3-D cinema system, for instance, or this 3-D camera ASIC. They company also makes its own polarized 3-D eyewear for use with its cinema system.
Can’t wait till 2013 for your 3-D tablet? As of January, one of the few on sale was the Gadmei T863-3D. It’s fairly cheap, at $199–but it only runs a single-core 1GHz Arm Cortex A9 processor, says CNET. Want the full experience? Sit tight till MasterImage’s offering is available.