No Glasses Needed: Sharp’s 3D-Enabled Smartphones

Display technology keeps moving forward. Over the past fifty years we have gone from watching 3D movies while wearing funny red and green glasses, to 180o IMAX screens, to color presentations using 3D effects to enhance our entertainment experience. Last year 3D televisions made a big splash in the market as a new and immersive way to enjoy televised sports, computer gaming, and more. The newest video 3D technology even allows you to experience the visual effects without the need for special glasses. Known better as “naked eye,” this innovation brings us one step closer to the Star Trek-inspired holodeck 360o 3D immersive experience.

Mobile 3D

Now the drive is to bring a 3D experience to you when you’re watching programs on your smartphone or mobile gaming console. When it comes to mobile devices, it’s even more important to use a technology that doesn’t require special glasses. (If you’re wearing funky glasses, it could impair your ability to safely interact with the world around you.) To bring a “naked eye” 3D experience to mobile users, Sharp released two 3D-Enabled smartphones, the Galapagos 003SH and 005SH, just before the end of 2010. Consumers in Japan can now watch 3D content on their “naked-eye” 3D display cell phones.

According to the online spec sheets:

  • the phones run on an Android 2.2 operating system
  • sport 3.8-inch touchscreens with 800 x 480 resolution,
  • but the 005SH comes with a few more bells and whistles, like a QWERTY keyboard and a 32G microSDHC slot.

3D Integration Into Work Environments

Given that texts, emails and calendars don’t benefit from 3D, I’m guessing these phones will appeal more to the gaming and video crowd than business types. But I can foresee a use for these devices in the construction, engineering and healthcare arenas, especially on a 3D tablet PC with a larger screen. Other software could give us a different way of seeing data that may help in identifying data anomalies resulting in faster analysis for Cyber-Security and pharmacologic and other complex research. This type of portable display could even be as impactful as the early computational calculators allowing research to take place outside the office environment.

There are a few 3D tablet PCs on the market, and in early February, LG, the South Korean electronics company, announced its Optimus Pad, an Android 3.0 3D tablet PC. The device will be available in the U.S. this spring, according to, via T-Mobile USA. The device will feature a 3D screen and a 3D capable camera—but users will still need to wear special glasses.

The Future of 3D Smartphones

Special glasses or not, a 3D-enabled smartphone? It makes the Star Wars’ hand held holoprojectors look possible. As a confessed techo-geek, that’s pretty darn cool. Today, for a few of my gadget and game loving friends, a 3D-smartphone is a must have; for my researcher friends this could be the start of the next technology revaluation.

I haven’t been able to play with a 3D phone yet so if anyone has seen a Sharp Galapagos 003SH/005SH in action, let me know.
Steve Hurst Managed Security Product Director AT&T About Steve