Is 3D the next big tablet feature?
A company called MasterImage 3D has been showing off a prototype Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) tablet that features the company’s proprietary 3D display technology. The so-called reference design tablet was created by Qualcomm and features the company’s Snapdragon S4 processor that has yet to be commercially released.
MasterImage 3D first was shown publicly for the first time at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona the end of February, but the company has started to make more formal presentations this week.
Analyst Tim Bajarin estimates that implementing MasterImage 3D’s technology could add as much as $100 to $150 to the cost of a 7-inch tablet, at least until volume manufacturing can bring the cost down. But a spokesman for MasterImage 3D said the additonal cost is expected to be far less even at launch, closer to a third to half of Bajarin's estimate.
“It was one of the most stunning displays. I was shocked at the quality of the 3D,” said Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, who saw an early demo at MWC.
The MDP Tablet 3D Edition reference design is an Android tablet, but MasterImage spokesman Matt Liszt says the company is talking to a number of manufactures and the 3D display can be adapted for other platforms such as iOS or Windows devices.
MasterImage 3D makes a millimeter thick display designed to be embedded on top of a company’s smartphone or tablet display with the same touchscreen capabilities. The company’s secret sauce is its patented Cell-Matrix Parallax Barrier Technology that it says is the leading technology in glasses-free 3D display.
A writer for the Los Angeles Times wrote glowingly of the demo she received today.
“I watched a 3-D trailer for the movie Hugo. Holding the tablet in the sweet spot right in front of me, I found the images to be stunning,” said Michelle Maltais. “And videos made exclusively for the demo leaped off the screen. Bubbles wafted and popped before my eyes. Graphic comics took on a new life.”
Maltais also said “I could see the possibilities for this being easily integrated in the next generation of tablets as a standard feature,” which is exactly what MasterImage 3D hopes happens.
“I can say that we are deep in discussions with several partners and we have pending news about manufacturing capabilities related to volume,” Liszt told TabTimes.
He said a smartphone incorporating the MasterImage 3D technology is likely to ship first ahead of a tablet. “The trend, and I’m not making an announcement here, is that we’ll have a tablet announcement in Q1 of next year,” said Liszt.