Watch CBSN Live

Sharp's New Cellphone Video May Be a Tipping Point for 3D

Sharp (SRP) is reportedly enabling cellphones to take 3D pictures and video -- a giant step for smartphones, not only against traditional cameras, but as an advocate for the 3D revolution. Assuming it's affordable, Sharp's 3D technology could be the tipping point for 3D adoption.

As Barb Dybwad of Mashable reports:

The camera module, designed specifically for small devices like cellphones and digital cameras, shoots 3D footage at 720p resolution. Samples of the new camera will be available by July before the real mass production begins, so by this summer we should be able to get our eyes on the level of quality we might expect from devices that will incorporate it later this year.

If Sharp is able to produce the modules at comparable cost, it might not be long until 3D video support becomes a commodity baked into most smartphones and point-and-shoots. There are yet other problems to solve, not the least of which is ensuring everyone has the means to comfortably view 3D content - whether it be via glasses or through the still relatively nascent glasses-less 3D technology. Nevertheless, Sharp's mobile 3D camera stands to be yet another important milestone in the march to ubiquitous 3D.

This will be a game changer. The focus over the past two years has been on viewing 3D cinema, galvanized by Avatar and supported by Alice In Wonderland and other recent films. However, there has been far less discussion about consumers creating 3D content. The ability to make home videos will be the tipping point in 3D television and player adoption. It's akin to YouTube: Online videos had been available for years, but the simple and accessible tool helped the video genre explode.

Furthermore, the technology will inspire additional technology, even if it isn't perfect. For instance, Google acquired BumpTop this week, which will probably mean the upcoming Google Tablet will have 3D components. The Sharp technology could play a part in the upcoming device and other gadgets like it.

It will also be interesting to see how Sharp's tech will affect the traditional camera world. Point-and-shoots are already on their way out, and 3D could give them an edge. From Mashable's perspective, the tech will be available to both cameras and smartphones, which means that cameras would still be at a disadvantage in the near future. However, it still gives camera makers the opportunity to create their own lane by offering a premium with additional costs -- say, 1040p instead of the 720p expected from Sharp's cell phone additions. In other words, only so many phone resources can be dedicated to this 3D technology, but a single-purpose camera can focus solely on improving the 3D visual experience. Sharp's 3D tech may advance faster on the camera.

Based on what we know at the moment, Sharp 3D would truly shift the focus from passive viewing to active creation -- which brings 3D to a whole new dimension.