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LG Launches Optimus 3D and Optimus Pad

by Noah Kravitz | February 14, 2011February 14, 2011 2:51 am PST

Like it or not, here comes mobile 3D.

LG officially launched the LG Optimus 3D at their MWC press conference in Barcelona. A smartphone featuring – you guessed it – a 3D display, LG touted the device as the world’s first “Dual core, dual channel” mobile phone, something that’s apparently so awesome it required explanation by way of a goofy little animated movie shown at the press conference. Optimus 3D packs a 4.3″ WVGA display, DLNA-based wireless media sharing, and of course 3D video out over HDMI.  LG actually announced a partnership with YouTube for easy upload and consumption of YouTube 3D content, including mention of a YT3D app on the device.

According to LG, Optimus 3D blew “every other competitive device currently on the market” away in the Quadrant benchmarking test, though the company was gracious enough not to name competitors by name. They showed a similar face-off based around Web browsing, but again deigned to out their performance-challenged competitor onscreen (it looked like a Samsung Captivate).

LG also took the wraps off of the Optimus Pad tablet today. An Android 3.0 Honeycomb machine, Optimus Pad is the first to feature an integrated 3D camera. While the tablet lacks a 3D display, 3D videos can be displayed on 3D-capable TVs via HDMI out, or shared via the web, including on YouTube 3D.

Just smaller than competitive Honeycomb tablets such as Motorola’s Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, LG says Optimus Pad was designed for easy (easier?) one-handed use than features a 8.9″, 1280 x 768 WXGA display with a 15:9 aspect ratio, full 1080p video decoding, and NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 processor inside. They actually took some digs at Samsung and Apple by way of visuals showing tablets too small to be useful (Galaxy Tab) and too big to be comfortable to use or easily carried on the go (iPad).

Honestly, I’m not sold on the whole 3D thing, especially on Android-based devices that may or may not suffer from update delays due to the proprietary software baked into LG’s customizations of Google’s OS. And it remains to be seen how these devices will function out in the wild, away from the cozy confines of a corporate press conference at the world’s flagship mobile event. That said, the promo reel showing off the 3D capabilities was, well, over-the-top cheesy. Even by press conference standards. Seriously – I’ve embedded it here so you can dig on baby’s Kay’s yoga lesson for yourself (video via Phone Arena).

At least they’ve got a catchy tagline: “3D. It’s better for real.”

But don’t call me too cynical – two or three years ago I saw a $200 iPod dock with an integrated 2D to 3D video converter rendering decently entertaining “3D Effects” on its built-in screen. If little Vestalife could pull that off on the cheap a few years back, it stands to reason that an industry giant like LG has raised the quality bar since then. Right? And I like that LG made a point of saying 3D needs to be glasses-free to really catch on. While glasses-free 3D on a four inch smartphone screen isn’t exactly as exciting as glasses-free on a big screen in your living room would be, it’s a start.

LG’s presser was held in an auditorium away from the main show grounds, and they didn’t have any demo devices on hand. So I’ll update with hands-on video just as soon as I can get some. In the meantime: 3D on a mobile? You excited about it, or excited to move along past it?


Noah Kravitz

Noah Kravitz mourned the day that Star Castle was replaced in the pizza parlour he frequented as a kid. The sadness ended when he saw an older kid...

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