On a quiet island within Sharp’s CES booth, a handful of glasses-free 3D smartphones were on display. They had eye-catching layered menus, 3D conversion of standard photos and a cute demo of swimming fish. (Rule of thumb: every 3D demo involves sea animals at some point.)
It only took a few minutes of playing around to see how undesirable all this 3D could be.
On tbe most obvious level, staring at a glasses-free 3D screen for a prolonged period can have a dizzying effect, but not all 3D is created equal, and maybe Sharp’s implementation is sub-par. My real concern is that smartphones aren’t conducive to 3D content in the first place.
On smartphones, you interact by touching the screen — the same one that’s supposed to convey the illusion of depth. As soon as you start passing fingers over the screen, the 3D effect is ruined, so the potential uses are limited only to passive viewing.
Moreover, I’ve come to regard 3D as event-based media. You don’t want it for checking Twitter or snacking on a quick round of Angry Birds. You want to lean back and let your eyes get comfortable with the illusion for a couple hours at a time. Switching in and out of 3D at a rapid clip is pretty jarring, and I walked away from Sharp’s demo feeling discombobulated.
That’s not to say the Sharp’s 3D smartphone didn’t have wow factor, especially in the immediate visual effect of the layered home screen. But I have a hard time seeing the feature as more than a gimmick.