We aren’t sure if this is really “research”, or if it is more of an educated guess, but In-Stat is predicting that 148 million mobile devices will have stereoscopic 3D support by 2015. Is that such a crazy number? MTBS says it’s very realistic, and here’s why:
First, industry pressures have created a desire for mobile 3D devices. HTC and LG have competing 3D phones, the Nintendo 3DS earned its share of buzz, and there are even exciting rumours about future iPads and iPhones supporting 3D in one form or another. Every time someone sneezes, a 3D patent is getting filed somewhere, so clearly the industry is getting entrenched for an impending future in mobile 3D.
Mobile also has a huge advantage when it comes to perpetual adoption. 3D HDTV’s are expensive to manufacture, the profit margins are slim, and they are still a tough buying decision for customers. On the other hand, whether consumers are actively looking for a 3D phone or not, just the power of scale makes it possible for companies like LG and HTC to include phones with two or three year plans at reasonable cost. Even if they don’t make money on the phone itself (which is a big if), there is money to be made in content distribution via their internal stores or content relationships. Add to this the attractiveness of having a unique class of 3D content that isn’t readily available by everyone, and you have a mix for exciting times ahead for the balance sheet.
Of course, numbers alone won’t define the success of these 3D mobile products. Game developers and content makers need to grasp 3D gaming on mobile, and similar to the way they are critical of performance limitations on console, it might be a new can of worms for mobile. Can mobile 3D solutions adequately put out enough 3D horsepower and not kill the battery life in the process? Is another standards war brewing? Will content makers take the necessary interest, or will we just have a lot of 3D displays with nothing to show on them? Share your thoughts!