Sony Pitches a 3D Laptop, But You'll Still Need Glasses

Sony Vaio

I'm not sure I'll ever care about 3D, which seems like a slick, gimmicky additive to me, but if you do, Sony says its first stereoscopic 3D laptop will hit the grid next year. The laptop (or a prototype, depending who you read) was in fact just demoed at the IFA 2010 technology fair in Berlin.

It'll sell under the company's Vaio brand, and include a 3D button that, when pressed, will lend three-dimensional depth to a 2D image. Tap the button again, and you're back to classic two-dimensional viewing at 1920 x 1080 (1080p) resolution. The idea's to let you play video games or watch high-definition movies in 3D (the laptop will presumably have a Blu-ray player).

Ah, but here's the catch: You'll have to wear a pair of active shutter glasses to make it work. Which means you'll have to haul potentially scratch-able, bendable, and eminently smudge-able shades around with you everywhere. Oh, and no hunkering in your basement to avoid stares (or smirks) from curious onlookers, or the fashion police, warning you Devo wants its eyewear back.

Why Sony isn't launching a model that works glasses-free, like Toshiba's standalone TV, or Nintendo's ultramobile 3DS, is anyone's guess.

HP's apparently planning much the same: The company just announced a similar 3D laptop in its Envy family (it'll also require glasses) due out by the holidays.

Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer says the laptop will be available through regular retail channels next spring. No one's certain what it'll cost, or how much of a premium Sony will charge for the 3D angle, but Sony says it'll be fast, display up to 240 frames per second, which would put it well ahead of the competition. It'll also use Sony's version of "black frame insertion," which inserts a black frame between normal video frames to improve pixel response and improve black levels.

All that sounds well and good, but do you want a 3D laptop? Do you really care about this sort of pseudo-3D (still just a trick, after all)? Do you want the added eyestrain, if you're one of those (like me) who experiences it? The extra gear to carry around and worry about scratching or breaking?

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