LG continues the 3-D smartphone trend with Optimus 3D

LG is continuing the 3-D smartphone trend, announcing availability of its Optimus 3D handset first in Europe, and later in 60 other areas around the world. The Google Android (s goog) 2.2 smartphone combines a dual-core processor, two rear cameras and a stereoscopic display for glasses-free viewing of three-dimensional videos and images, either taken with the phone or from third-party sources. LG will leverage the 3-D features through a downloadable augmented reality browser from Wikitude, available after launch.

When LG debuted the Optimus 3D at February’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, many of the specification details were limited. LG filled in the gaps in its announcement Friday, providing a full rundown:

  • 1 GHz Texas Instruments (s txn) OMAP 4430 dual-core CPU
  • PowerVR 540 SGX540 GPU
  • 4.3-inch display with 800 x 480 resolution
  • Dual 5-megapixel rear cameras with auto-focus, LED flash; front-facing camera for video chat
  • 720p video capture in 3-D mode, 1080p in standard mode
  • 8 GB internal storage, 512 MB of dual-channel RAM, microSD expansion up to 32 GB
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • HSDPA radio with 14.4 Mbps downloads, 5.76 Mbps uploads
  •  128.8 x 68 x 11.9 m
  • 5.07″ x 2.67″ x 0.46″, weight of 5.9 ounces

As gimmicky as 3-D functionality sounds on a smartphone, I’m starting to warm up to the technology. I haven’t seen LG’s implementation of it on the Optimus 3D, but the HTC Evo 3D takes the same approach: Two camera sensors and a stereoscopic display, meaning no glasses are required. I got my first look at 3-D images and videos on the new HTC handset Thursday, and I came away impressed. I’d expect a similar experience from the Optimus 3D.

LG’s earlier foray into 3-D, the G-Slate on T-Mobile’s network, also uses a dual-camera setup, but requires 3-D glasses to view the content. That’s fine for viewing by yourself, but a challenge when trying to share content with others who aren’t likely to have the needed glasses. I’m still not sold that 3-D on a handset will appeal to a mass market audience for a some time yet, but LG’s clearly betting big on the tech, and if the Optimus 3D display works well, it could help its chances of succeeding.