India Has a 3-D Cell Phone: No Glasses Required!

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Spice Mobility, a handset-maker local to India, is offering a 3-D handset that requires no special glasses. The M-67 3D costs Rs 4,299 ($97 US) and uses an auto-stereoscopic display for 3-D viewing but can be switched bewteen 2-D and 3-D viewing modes with a dedicated shortcut key. The candybar phone won’t take the place of a 3-home theater, however, as the 6 centimeter (2.36 inch) screen runs at low 240 x 320, or QVGA, resolution.

Even with a screen shows such a small number of pixels, I’m intrigued by how the 3-D mode looks on the M-67 3D, and more importantly, wondering if the technology be used by other manufacturers of mobile phones.

Spice Mobility doesn’t specify the method used for the 3-D technology, but my suspicion is that it uses a parallax barrier, just as Nintendo’s upcoming 3-D handheld system reportedly will use. With this method, a film with slits is placed over an LCD screen, and alters the pixels seen between the left and right eyes, producing a visual 3-D effect.

Aside from the 3-D visuals with no glasses required, the dual-SIM handset sports a 2 megapixel camera, support for a 16 MB memory card, music player, FM radio, and remote wipe feature. Hardware specifications aside, it’s actually amazing that India has a phone with a relatively unique feature missing in handsets around the world, and yet the country is just now getting private 3G networks up and running.

Bharti today announced it would launch 3G before the end of 2010 while Tata Docomo is expected to launch nine 3G markets next month. If Indian service providers plan to beam highly detailed 3-D movies to future phones, they’re going to need those faster mobile broadband networks. And if nothing else, the new 3-D handset shows the pace off innovation coming from local handset makers in India, who are ready to bring the next 500 million users to the mobile web.

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