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Toshiba: Glasses-Free 3D Notebooks this Year

By - Source: Hot Hardware | B 16 comments

Toshiba is reportedly integrating its glasses-free 3D display technology into an upcoming line of notebooks.

Unnamed industry sources based out of Taiwan claim that Toshiba is planning to launch a line of notebooks using the company's in-house developed integral imaging technology. This means the laptops will provide glasses-free 3D imagery by producing multiple rays of light projected at different angles.

The news is somewhat expected given that Toshiba had a successful launch of its glasses-free 3D HDTVs in late 2010. The company originally revealed the tech back in April 2010 during CEDEC, sporting a 21-inch prototype capable of rendering glasses-free 3D. The company said the display used a lenticular lens sheet on a high-definition LCD panel and combined images taken from nine different directions to create one 3D picture.

"Technically, this is called a nine-parallax 3D image, and there are nine pixels underneath each lens," the company explained during the show. "This creates a 3D perspective by enabling each pixel to be observed through the lens from a different direction."

Although the 3D images can be seen from nine different angles, the contents can shift as the viewer moves from one point to the other. Those who've fondled the Nintendo 3DS have already seen that the background will even wobble to some degree. In in a notebook environment, this could cause a slightly unpleasant experience.

Still, the glasses-free technology is better than wearing the dorky specs, and supposedly even reduces eye fatigue (although that doesn't seem to be the case with the 3DS). As it stands now, notebook vendors including Acer, Asustek, HP, Dell, Lonovo and MSI have launched 3D laptops using the shutter-based or polarized-based glasses solutions. Sales are lackluster at best, assumingly because 3D is still a gimmick, consumers aren't keen on wearing the annoying specs, and/or the experience just isn't worth the premium price.

According to the Taiwan sources, Toshiba's glasses-free 3D notebooks will supposedly launch sometime in the second half of 2011. That said, is 3D just a fad and will fade away like Myspace and mullet haircuts, or is 3D here for good?

Got any juicy, exclusive insider news or images of prototype gadgets? Send them to kparrish at bestofmedia dot com! You can also follow my daily barrage of tech and gaming tidbits on Twitter.

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  • 0 Hide
    reprotected , April 6, 2011 6:45 PM
    Nintendo... Why did you have to announce the 3DS?
  • 1 Hide
    of the way , April 6, 2011 7:03 PM
    3D != fad

    People have been trying to kill it for decades, but it won't go away, and we're finally getting somewhat closer to it not being terribly annoying for most people.
  • 0 Hide
    dstigue , April 6, 2011 7:10 PM
    It's not a fad just no implementation has ever been ideal. I have and LG 3D Cinema display. Love it. I couldn't stand the Shutter glasses and just wanted the cheap polarized ones. Eventually glassless with few drawbacks will be here and everyone will bite.
  • Display all 16 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    baddad , April 6, 2011 7:18 PM
    I have the nVidia 3D setup and I like it some games work really well and others are so, so. I think it’s here to stay but with glasses because they give the best experience right now.
  • 0 Hide
    jrharbort , April 6, 2011 7:31 PM
    ASUS has also more recently announced an improved hardware revision G53 that will offer glasses-free 3D. Sorry Toshiba, but you got beat to the punch.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , April 6, 2011 7:38 PM
    Scale this up to a 40" TV and i'm in
  • 1 Hide
    billj214 , April 6, 2011 7:46 PM
    I also have the Nvidia 3D Vision and I would say it's quite amazing but the cost is high due to the graphics horsepower required as well as 3D display costs.

    I don't agree it's a gimmick but it's mostly for games vs. movies since movies converted to 3D are not so amazing. Playing any game in 3D even now is still always much funner than 2d and still makes me say WOW.

    I would only buy a laptop with 3D if it had enough horsepower for games!
  • 0 Hide
    ltbob , April 6, 2011 8:08 PM
    3d is the future of movies.. gaming is meh... I wouldn't like getting shot in the face..
  • 0 Hide
    ram1009 , April 6, 2011 8:26 PM
    I wear glasses all the time so it's no big deal to me.
  • 0 Hide
    dman3k , April 6, 2011 8:59 PM
    We will not stop until we get the hologram. And even after the hologram, we will try making the AI characters even more realistic...
  • 1 Hide
    xabis , April 6, 2011 9:10 PM
    How about 3D for us folks blind in an eye?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 6, 2011 9:16 PM
    I feel that glasses-free 3D is the future, but as others have said, it needs to improve its visual quality versus using the parallax shutter glasses. The alternative is that they find out how to make glasses-free 3D cheap, but who knows how long that will take or if it will ever happen.

    As to the question asked at the end of the article, 3D is here to stay. Though I understand those that see it as a fad and could agree with them in the here and now sense, but I think they are using a different definition of fad from the one implicitly suggested in the article.
  • 1 Hide
    starryman , April 7, 2011 6:33 AM
    3d on a laptop... really? And when they can't get battery life to stretch more than 2hours??? Seriously... I've purchased laptops that claim 5 to 8 hours. None have gone close to advertised and after about 6 months of use, the batteries usually half worn out. Don't give me BS features... give me better battery life.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , April 7, 2011 4:51 PM
    I will be giving 3D (which I call stereo vision) all my thumbs up, but not my money till they bring me dual screen, actual dual screen, one for each eye, mounted in light enough glasses and usable in games with at least some compensation for head movement
    And by then the screen will be curbed, spherical in fact (or appear so through careful manipulation with proper lens), with the same center as the eye, so no need for eye movement compensation.
    That is when I will go stereo ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , April 7, 2011 4:54 PM
    p.s. the ;)  emoticon is fun when associated with stereo vision, but tom's comment system ate the rest of my comment stating this exactly, because I put it in the form of a html comment tag/arrow.
  • 0 Hide
    dormantreign , April 7, 2011 7:09 PM
    3d is here to stay. It will take time to get adopted into normal social acceptance.