We’ve recently seen some news about 3D in the mobile industry (Next Tegra 2 CPU (known as Tegra 2 3D) and 3D phones at MWC2011). It has gotten a great marketing response but a pretty mediocre to lack-luster response from consumers. On this one, I have to agree with the marketers in one way – I think this is great! On the other hand, I also have to agree with the consumers on the other hand, nobody really cares now nor will they much when it’s first released. So what’s the deal here?
Before I explain my thoughts, let me throw one more variable into the equation. You have heard of Kinect for the Xbox 360 from Microsoft, right? If not, go read here. As a very quick technical summary, the main components of Kinect that we care about here include a/some video camera(s) and depth perception. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Let me give you one more hint if you still don’t get what I’m talking about here. Have you ever seen Minority Report? If not, you MUST watch this video. At this point, I should no longer need to explain anything. Between having a 3D display that doesn’t require glasses and Kinect technology, we now have all physical technology required for this type of UI! But actually, ours is cooler because the Minority Report UI isn’t really in 3D and ours is! So we can actually interact with the depthness of UI components by “touching” them, something that the Minority Report UI couldn’t do. They essentially just had overglorified 2D pinch-to-zoom.
So what we see in 2011 will be some pretty crappy implementations of 3D in mobile devices. There will be 3D movies that play on them and some terrible apps/games that use the 3D display. However, this is a necessary evil to get us to where we are going. Once 3D becomes standard and Kinect-type controllers become more standard, we can then begin creating UIs from the ground-up that builds upon these features in a way that can become awesome devices for all. So as the marketers say, this is great/amazing/spectacular. But also, as the consumers say, nobody will initially care much. However, it really will end up with some really neat end results! So if you’re somebody with some money and creativity, I STRONGLY encourage you to create some 3D UIs and get some patents in this area. Today’s science allows all of this to happen, 2010 has already started and 2011 will continue shipping products with these technologies in them, and you’ll see that 2012, people will begin doing this for real instead of just as a gimmick to create sales. So what you begin today will begin to come into strong demand in about 1.5 years from now! At that point, Apple, Microsoft, Google, or somebody will want to buy your company out.
What do you think about having 3D displays on tablets and smartphones? Share below if this is something you’re looking forward to or not (because I guarantee, we will get there!).