Toshiba: Glasses-Free 3D Notebooks this Year

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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  • reprotected
    Nintendo... Why did you have to announce the 3DS?
  • of the way
    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.
  • dstigue
    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.