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9/3/2010
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Sharp Demos 3D Camera Phone

Similar to the Apple iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy S in design, the prototype mobile device has a glasses-free 3D parallax screen and multiple 3D cameras.

Sharp 3D Camera Phone
(click image for larger view)
Sharp 3D Camera Module
Sharp Electronics this week showed off a prototype of a mobile device with a glasses-free 3D parallax screen and a couple of 3D cameras in the back. The prototype also has 3D output over HDMI and can take pictures and video in 3D for viewing on compatible devices. The prototype has technology similar to what is used in the Nintendo 3DS to produce the effect. The Nintendo 3DS device requires users to hold the device in a certain spot to make the 3D image visible. 3D images are two views achieved by using two cameras that simultaneously capture separate images for the right and left eyes.

Sharp demoed the device at the IFA show 2010 in Berlin. The phone will reportedly have a design similar to the iPhone 4 or the Samsung Galaxy S. The company has said it will launch the phone sometime before the end of the year but did not confirm whether it will be sold in the United States or United Kingdom, or in Japan only, nor did it release any information on pricing.

The prototype has a 3.7-inch LCD with an 800 x 480 resolution in 2D, which is reduced to 400 x 480 in 3D. Another prototype at the show had a tablet-sized screen of about 7 inches. Reports indicate the images seen at the show were grainy.

Earlier this year, Sharp announced mass production had begun of its 3D camera module for digital cameras, mobile phones and smartphones. The devices with the module will be able to capture high-definition, 720p 3D video images, the company said. "Embedding this camera module in mobile devices such as digital cameras, mobile phones and smartphones will contribute to the development of a wide range of new, innovative communications tools,'' the company said at the time in a statement.

Sharp is not the only consumer electronics company manufacturing phones with 3D cameras. Hitachi earlier this year announced a parallax barrier 3D glasses-free display phone for sale in Japan.

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