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Nokia and Intel conclude 3 year project examining future of ’3D Internet’ | The Next Web

From The Next Web by Ben Woods on 6/19/13
on September 26, 2012 in Berlin, Germany.

A three year project to explore the possibilities and implications of what the “3D Internet” on a mobile would look like and what benefits it could offer has finished, leading the way for future work in the area.

While 3D on mobile might feel a little excessive to some, you only have to look at the number of apps beginning to integrate 3D modelling or mapping, for example, and it’s a short leap to wonder what the whole of the Internet would be like (and how we could navigate it) if it was in 3D.

The Chiru project (officially known as the ‘3D User eXperience for Mobile Network Virtual Environments’) was carried out by the Center for Internet Excellence (CIE) at the University of Oulu in Finland with backing from Nokia, Intel and Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for technology and innovation. It set out with a clear vision: to study and improve the way people interact with 3D information and also looked at things like how data services can be presented in a virtual space and creating design guidelines for 3D interfaces.

“At CIE, our main focus is accelerating the deployment of 3D Internet services and applications. The most important question is to understand how people interact with three dimensional information and what do we need from technology to create a smooth and immersive user experience”, Mika Ylianttila, Director of the CIE, said on Wednesday.

“From the business perspective, the 3D Internet space is a huge opportunity and we are seeing more and more businesses and research being built around 3D Internet. The Oulu area has unique expertise and provides a living lab environment to test and develop 3D Internet technologies and services,” he added.

The ultimate aim for the ambitious project was “to lay the groundwork for the 3D Internet” but also looked at Mixed Reality, also known as augmented reality (AR).

While a number of the findings have perhaps become more obvious than they were when the researchers set out in 2010, it also found that people are far more comfortable using augmented reality in most situations (a normal view of the world augmented with digital information) but preferred a pure 3D model in cluttered situations as it’s less distracting and omits other “disruptive elements” like shadows.

The project looked at several different elements of technology during the study and investigated things like 3D object capture using Xbox Kinect alongside a 3D capturing module for RealXtend Tundra, visual design aspects of UIs and the user overall experience and things like how to connect multiple concurrent 3D spaces with portals.

However, perhaps some of the most interesting research was carried out on the visualization of sensor data which they did by using GPS with mobile WiFi and Bluetooth data (as well as some other wearable sensors) for visualization and content creation.

“GPS data was used for controlling an agent in a 3D virtual environment depicting a real city. Also WiFi and Bluetooth connection data was used to measure pedestrian traffic and demonstrate how virtual cities can be populated according to different types of city zones. Furthermore, accelerometer and proximity sensor data was used to capture and visualize elderly patient activities,” the group said on its project page. You can see a video of the elderly patient activities research here.

In addition to the user-side and design requirements of what the 3D Internet might look like and how it could be built, the study also looked at the technology involved such as seeing what impact 3D content (geometry, surface maps, materials, etc.) had on mobile battery life, as well as trying to formulate a mathematical model so that the demands of any 3D space on battery life could easily be calculated.

Building on the project, the CIE said it will now continue its research with new projects focusing on a Tekes-backed Mixed Reality study. It also said it will run projects and training programs with local authorities to turn parts of their research into businesses.

While research into the area is no longer a new topic and we have seen the increasing use of augmented reality in mobile devices, such as Nokia’s City Lens or LiveSight features, but there is clearly room for future development of the technology and a need to increase awareness among users. Projects such as this, while they might have no immediate practical outcome, do just that and are a vital key to innovation in the space.


Future of 3DTV dims as ESPN 3D is yanked |

From by Martha White on 6/14/13

TV sports in 3D was supposed to be a slam dunk, but viewers never got the picture. And, then there were those stupid-looking glasses, too.

This week, ESPN acknowledged the future for in-your-face screen action looks dim when it announced it was pulling the plug on ESPN 3D, almost three years after launching it with considerable fanfare.

“I would say the 3D network was dead on arrival,” said David Miller, a senior analyst at B. Riley & Co. “The proliferation of 3D networks had to depend on selling 3D glasses, and no one wanted to buy 3D glasses.”

“The whole problem with 3D TV is it was a solution to a problem consumers didn’t have,” said James McQuivey, a media analyst at Forrester Research.

ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer had called 3D a “win for fans” in a statement about the channel’s launch, saying it “puts ESPN at the forefront of the next big advance for TV viewing.”

Unfortunately, it was a big advance nobody really watched. “Due to limited viewer adoption of 3D services to the home, ESPN is discontinuing ESPN 3D,” spokeswoman Katina Arnold said via email.

“Nobody knows more about sports in 3D than ESPN, and we will be ready to provide the service to fans if or when 3D does take off,” she said.

Analysts say that’s unlikely. While movies in 3D have become popular, the technology never got popular enough to make the transition from the multiplex to the living room. “I felt like sports had the best chance,” said Ben Arnold, director and industry analyst at the NPD Group. “It’s probably just a broader symptom of consumers just not being interested in 3D.”

Although sales of 3D TVs are on the rise, he called this a “false positive.” More manufacturers are throwing in 3D capability on smaller and cheaper sets, but people aren’t using the feature. In just two years, NPD research found that the number of people interested in buying 3D TVs within six months dropped by 10 percentage points, down to 14 percent.

3D also debuted in a lackluster economy when prices of conventional flat-screen TVs were plunging. Many consumers went for big and cheap rather than paying a premium for a relatively unknown technology.

And the complexity of that technology isn’t winning 3D TV many fans either. In an era where media consumption is getting easier and more intuitive, 3D TV isn’t. It has a more narrow viewing range than conventional flat-screen TV and requires the viewer to sit upright (no napping on the couch on game day). Plus, people hate wearing the glasses, which can be goofy-looking and uncomfortable.

Nobody seemed to consider how people’s watching habits, particularly with sports, clashed with the technology’s limitations. For instance, a fan couldn’t just invite a bunch of friends over to watch a game: Everyone would have to have their own pair of glasses, and only a few people would be at an optimal angle to the screen to get a good viewing experience.

“It’s just running against the current of technology today,” McQuivey said. “It started to really make 3D unattractive.”

Tracking down 3D programs also isn’t simple. Arnold pointed out that the delivery of 3D content is fragmented. There isn’t a centralized place where a viewer can go to get access to all of the 3D content available to them.

ESPN 3D’s programming mix also might not have been appealing enough to gain traction, some suggest. “I think they would’ve had a shot if they had NFL games,” said Gary Merson, editor of

ESPN 3D featured college sports, extreme sports, soccer and more niche offerings. Without more mainstream events, “You probably won’t attract large-enough of an audience to make it worthwhile,” said Eric Wold, an analyst at B. Riley & Co. The cost to film in 3D is incrementally higher because it takes additional cameras and crew, which means a bigger audience — not a smaller one — is necessary to recoup the additional cost.

ESPN wouldn’t say how much parent company The Walt Disney Company invested in ESPN 3D, but Miller speculated it might be enough to trigger a write-down.

The future of at-home 3D programming looks fuzzy, and even special glasses aren’t going to bring that picture into focus. “I don’t have high hopes for consumers adopting it,” NPD’s Arnold said.

Startup Diaries from the UK: Creating Tomorrow’s Pioneers in 3D Film | TNW

From The Next Woman Magazine by Rachael Clohesy on 5/30/13

“There is a baseline opposition to any technological advancement – tune it out.”

Jim Chabin, Chairman of the International 3D Society, quote from the 3D Creative Summit in London, March 27th 2013.

Our first contact with 3D was through the delivery of the evaluation trials for an EU project called Saracen. This has designed and developed a peer-to-peer 3D video streaming platform. Our role was to deliver trials of the platform with participants aged between 15-25 years. This group generally adopts new technology more quickly than other age groups.

In order to encourage engagement in the trials we offered free video production training in 2D and 3D. This is what we do, and we know that it is a great hook as these skills provide an ‘edge’ in any tight labour market.

This work resulted in our invitation to speak at the first 3D Creative Summit in London at the British Film Institute. Other panelists included Ang Lee, Richard Attenborough and 3D creators from the Life of Pi and The Hobbit.

However, now that we are skilled in training people to make short 3D content as part of a ‘User Generated Content’ offer there is no looking back. This is a growth industry with an exciting future. There are many people who disagree and dislike this new medium.

Through delivering grass roots 3D training to young people on the brink of their film careers, we know that this group engages with 3D and sees it as an enhancement to their story.

Growth of 3D

In order to back up my claims about the future of 3D you need some stats! Some of this information was taken from Jim Chabin’s speech at the 3D Creative Summit in London in March 2013.

+ The term “3D” is googled approximately 8 billion times per month.
+ In 2012 there were 37 3D films released, from the sublime (Life of Pi) to the ridiculous (Piranha 3DD).
+ 40 3D films will be screened in 2013 (I wait in anticipation for the Great Gatsby).
+ 3D TV Sales accounted for one third of all TVs bought in the UK in 2012 (source BBC online, March 2013).
+ In the US it is estimated that there will be 61 million 3D TVs in homes by 2016 (source:CEA).
+ Evidence of theatrical success is illustrated by the $8 billion+ in takings from 3D films.
+ Avatar is the biggest grossing film of all time: $278 billion.
+ Obama’s State of the Union address was also filmed in 3D.
+ The above figures certainly indicate that the 3D market is expanding but it’s not only in films.

Stereography, which is the depiction or representation of three-dimensional objects by projection onto a two-dimensional surface, lies at the heart of 3D film.

It is also used in a number of other industries including astronomy and astro-physics, embryology, military strategy and training, atomic chemistry and physics and many more.

For those of you (and there are many) who do not like 3D, or the extra costs associated with it (the glasses), the technology is improving.

We are entering the dawn of 3D TVs with no glasses. 4K TVs are ultra-high definition (four times the definition of HD) and 8K TVs are currently being developed. They do not replace 3D TVs but they can produce a better image. They are also a precursor to autostereo TV which is TV where you do not need glasses. At this point 3D TV will be better to view at home not only because of the lack of need for glasses (who wants to watch their favourite show with glasses on – this is after all a communal event?), but also because these TVs will allow you to sit anywhere in the room. Currently the best place to sit to enjoy 3D is right in the centre and at least a few feet away from the screen (tip for when you go to the cinema).

Our Experience

We have produced over 200 short films with over 2,000 people across the UK so were interested to see how incorporating 3D would affect the content that we were producing. As part of the Saracen project we worked with five small groups to produce 3D short films. At first we were worried that the groups would want to produce gimmicky films with explosions and objects flying out into the audience’s eyes but we quickly learned that the groups were approaching this new technology with a much more discerning eye. In fact each of the five groups wanted to find a way to incorporate the 3D element into their film to enhance their storytelling rather than shock the audience.

The outcome was a set of beautifully crafted films ranging from a film about transgendered youths to a documentary about breakdancing.

Young people are used to working with new technology and enjoy the challenge of creating cutting edge media. They all watch 3D films at the cinema and play 3D computer games – 3D isn’t that new or scary to them and as a result they can incorporate it in a wonderful way into the content that they are making. They don’t see 3D as a passing phase but another medium available to them to use and create the type of films that they want to watch – they just need access to the tools that will allow them to do so.


We have now run two 3D film-making projects (Saracen and the BFI Film Academy) and have learnt lots about the best way to produce short 3D films on a budget. Here are our top 3 tips:

Consider where you will be screening your work.

Different screen sizes mean shooting your subjects using different measurements. It is important to measure the distance from your camera to your subject and furthest object. The measurements can then be easily checked and altered using one of many 3D apps (we used 3DST.) The measurements will be different depending on whether you are shooting for a tablet screen, a computer, a TV or a cinema screen. Think about where you will be screening your work. We encouraged all the groups we worked with to shoot for the big screen as it gives them more opportunities to enter their work into the growing number of 3D festivals and therefore gain a wider audience.

Work with your limitations not against them.

Shooting 3D on a budget comes with huge restrictions. Most film-makers rely on beautiful close-ups to help them tell their stories. This can be hugely difficult using simply the 3D equipment that is available on the high street. Instead find different ways to tell the story and don’t try and replicate all the shots that you would use while shooting 2D. It is a new technology so find new ways to use it.

Create your own 3D language.

Even the experts are still finding out what works and what doesn’t. While at the 3D creative summit we were lucky enough to hear Oscar winning director Ang Lee (Life of Pi) talk about learning to use 3D. He spoke openly about what it is like shooting in 3D for the first time and had some great advice for those who are considering starting to experiment, “3D was like learning to swim …jump in and do it – build your own language.”

Next Steps

This is new territory for us and we plan to maximise our opportunities. There is a need for 3D content and we are developing plans to fill those gaps. We are combining our years of experience as film trainers, arts facilitators and youth leaders to engage the next generation of film talent with this new technology.

Rachael Clohesy is the co-founder, with Alison Wright, of VividEcho, a company providing training on how to produce short videos, launched in 2013. Rachael has 15 years experience in project management, brand development, fundraising, PR, events management and research. In 2007 she co-founded and became the CEO of a small arts charity which was supported by the Arts Council. Two years later she became the youth and community engagement manager at independent production company CTVC, managing a large scale film training project, before launching her current venture.

Micromax’s first 3D smartphone coming to India in May | Tech2

From Tech2 India on 4/30/13 by Nikhil Subramaniam

Micromax has announced its first 3D smartphone, the A115 Canvas 3D, adding one more handset to the popular Canvas family. You won’t require any special glasses to view 3D content on the phone. We do not have the entire specification sheet yet, but from what we know, the A115 looks like it is a capable performer.

The Canvas 3D is powered by an unnamed 1GHz dual-core processor and runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. There’s 512MB of RAM under the hood as well. The 3D content will be displayed on a 5-inch screen with a WVGA resolution (800 x 480 pixels).

A115 Canvas 3D will be available in black and white

The A115 Canvas 3D will be available in black and white

Packed with a 2000 mAh battery, the phone is said to have a talk-time of 4.5 hours. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to shoot any cool 3D images or videos with the phone. It looks like there’s just a lone 5-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus. The front-facing camera is a 0.3-megapixel unit. Connectivity-wise, everything seems to be in place thanks to Wi-Fi support and Bluetooth 4.0.
The company says that you can also convert regular pictures into the 3D picture format. The phone comes with a special ‘Micromax 3D Space’ that has a collection of 3D videos as well as pre-loaded 3D games.

HP develops next-gen glasses-free mobile 3D screens | Smithsonian

From Smithsonian’s “Surprising Science” by Joseph Stromberg on 3/20/13

The new technology can be packed into a tiny piece of glass, requires no glasses and can project images and video in full color. Image via Nature/Fattal et. al.

Most of the research that goes into producing cutting-edge commercial technology goes on in corporate R&D departments, away from the public eye. Every so often, though, some of that work gets published in a scientific journal, giving us a sneak preview of the capabilities we might see in our smart phones and devices in the years to come.

That’s certainly the case with a study in week’s issue of Nature, in which researchers from Hewlett-Packard detail their new invention: A mini 3D display that can be installed in a millimeter-thick piece of glass and works without special glasses. The system, the researchers say, can project static images or video in a range of colors.

In other words, when you buy a phone (if we’re still calling them “phones”) in ten or twenty years from now, chances are good that it will be equipped with a 3D system like this one, allowing you to see textures and depths-of-view as if you were in the scene rather than through holding a device in your hand.

The system works, as all 3D displays do, by sending a different image to each of our eyes, utilizing the fact that each of our eyes receiving a slightly different view of our surroundings is responsible for the fact that we see the world in 3D in the first place. But this display’s means of accomplishing the feat—and thereby simulating, to our brain, an image with depth—is different from previous ones.

Glasses-based 3D systems use various filtering mechanisms to show each of our eyes a different view. Some have shutters that rapidly open and close for each eye, and are synced with alternating images presented on the screen that are intended for one eye or another. A simpler, more common system (that you’re probably familiar with if you’ve gone to see a 3D movie) involve a pair of glasses with a blue lens and a red one, which cause two differently colored images on the screen to each reach one eye.

The illusion of 3 dimensions is a result of light scattered in many directions, so each of the viewer’s eyes see a different image no matter where they’re situated (part C). Image via Nature/Dodgson

This new display, though, works without glasses, encoding the mechanism in the screen itself. It does this by reflecting light (produced along its edges) with specialized “grated pixels” that project light in several different directions, rather than straight to the eye. When you look at a screen tiled with grated pixels, each of your eyes sees a slightly different image that’s been projected from the screen, creating the illusion of depth no matter where you stand.

But the technology’s real trick is creating this illusion for a relatively broad viewing angle—in this case, one that’s 90 degrees wide. The Nintendo 3DS, by contrast, uses the same pixel-directed technique, but just sends out light in two directions, so it only works for a user located a particular distance from the machine, directly in the center, where the two beams of light intersect (as in part A of the image to the right). Because the 3DS is a gaming device, this isn’t much of a problem, because users typically hold it right in front of them at arm’s length when they play.

The new HP display, though, is intended to someday be part of smartphones and tablets, so the researchers wanted to create a 3D projection that multiple viewers can crowd around and see from a variety of angles. They did this by using grated pixels that can split light in 14 different directions, instead of merely two.

As a result, differently-directed beams of light intersect at a number of spots in front of the display, so a user can be located nearly anywhere in front of it and still have each eye see a different image—and thus get the 3D illusion (as in part C of the image). The current technology does still leave some blind spots, but the researchers say they plan to increase the number of light directions from 14 to 64 in the future, further improving the amount of viewing angles saturated by the display.

Of course, this is a proof-of-concept, not a technology ready for immediate industrial application, so it’ll probably be a little while before we start to see this sort of 3D display popping up in devices on the market. Still, the technology gives us a hint of what researchers are working on for the future—and suggests that R2-D2′s 3D hologram projector isn’t so far-fetched after all.

3D film ‘The Croods’ takes #1 spot with $44M opening weekend |

From by Nikke Finke on 3/24/13

#1 ‘The Croods’ Toons Up $44M Weekend, #2 ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Rises To $30.8M, Tina Fey & Paul Rudd Soft In ‘Admission’, ‘Spring Breakers’ Expands Sexploitation

It shaped up as a hot weekend with an extra-strength Saturday and 3 films scoring $20M-plus this weekend. An estimated 13% of K-12 were on school break for the start of the Passover/Easter holidays so family fare ruled. Specifically, DreamWorks Animation‘s PG pre-historic newcomer The Croods (4,046 theaters, including over 3,000 in 3D) led the domestic box office with the widest release. It grossed $11.6M Friday and went up +60% because of the Saturday kiddue bump to $18.5M for a $44M weekend opening. Its ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences obviously helped word of mouth despite only 64% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes endangering its multiple. Pic cost $135M. Rival studios point out this is one of the softest of March openers from DreamWorks Animation and believe it could max out around $155M domestic. (2010′s How To Train Your Dragon also debuted to $43M and went on to make $217M all in – but its reviews were 98% positive.) Fact is that in recent years DWA’s films are badly trailing Pixar’s in terms of domestic openings and multiples – and Wall Street is taking note and depressing the share price of this publicly held company. (Katzenberg should blame himself: he personally lobbied theaters to drive up the price of 3D tickets beyond what parents are willing to pay now after the technology’s novelty wore off.)

Distributor Twentieth Century Fox claims this is a “strong opening” for a non-sequel animated film and believe The Croods will really toon up for the next two weeks when kids are on vacation everywhere. Then again, this is the first DWA release by Fox after Jeffrey Katzenberg switched distribution from Paramount so all the execs are relentlessly upbeat. “Terrific opening for DreamWorks Animation/Fox and the beginning of a great partnership,” one suit gushed. Film isn’t exactly The Flintstones in terms of comedic campiness for animation, but TV ads succeeded in making this pic look pleasantly palatable to parents and kids. Directed by Chris Sanders & Kirk DeMicco, and produced by Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell, voice cast includes Nic Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds none of whom are considered marquee names these days. About 25 overseas markets opened for previews last weekend but only 5 of the top markets (UK, Russia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico). Rival studios claim it’s telling that Fox kept the grosses quiet. But the studio says The Croods will add a big number this weekend to the $16M already in the international till.

Peter Schlessel’s FilmDistrict enjoyed its biggest distribution opening yet with #2 Antoine Fuqua’s R-rated action thriller Olympus Has Fallen (3,098 theaters). It grossed $10M Friday and $12.8M Saturday for $30.8M its first weekend. Pic scored an ‘A-’ with audiences which helped word of mouth. That’s a relief because the movie’s cost of $70M is one of the bigger budgets this small indiefilm company has ever released. Plot of the White House takeover by terrorists is newly plausible considering sequester spending cuts meant the U.S. government couldn’t even afford White House tours anymore because of Secret Service staff shortages. No surprise that the film did publicity at the recent CPAC convention for conservative politicos. FilmDistrict acquired distrib rights from Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films which produced and financed. The film was tracking strongest with males ages 18-plus and overperformed its expected high teens. Director and producer Fuqua with Mark Gill assembled a solid cast of Gerard Butler (who also produced and desperately needed a box office hit), Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd, Robert Forster and Rick Yune for the script by credited writers Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt.

Disney’s holdover Oz The Great And Powerful (3,805 theaters) is still going strong at #3 with $5.7M Friday and a +80% Saturday kiddie bump of $10.2M for another $23M through Sunday and $178.5M domestic cume. And #4 is Sony/TriStar’s holdover pickup The Call (2,507 theaters) with $9M weekend (-47% from a week ago).

Right now for #5 is Focus Features’ Tina Fey/Paul Rudd new low-budget comedy Admission (2,160 theaters) which grossed $2M Friday and $2.8M Saturday for as soft as $6.6M this weekend. Audiences gave it a mediocre ‘B-’ CinemaScore which didn’t help. Oh, Tina, Tina, Tina. You’re the funniest woman on the small screen in my opinion. But Red States may be holding a grudge over your SNL Sarah Palin impressions. And surely you can do better on the big screen than pairing with Paul since he’s box office poison. Pic underperformed studio expectations and barely met the low end of tracking. Even Focus admits grosses are soft despite its middling release and modest $13M cost. Because it’s a $30M-plus P&A pricetag just to open any pic these days. Focus saw a weekend that not only starts the waiting period for college acceptance letters but also had few moviegoing options for adult females aged 25+. ”There is also an opportunity to play well through the next few weekends as the older end of our female target 35+ also tends to patronize films in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of release,” a Focus exec told me. Hard to believe this convoluted script based on the Jean Hanff Korelitz novel adapted by credited screenwriter Karen Croner was so clumsily directed by one of my favorites, Oscar nominee Paul Weitz (About A Boy, In Good Company) who also produced. Low-brow TV ads didn’t help the pic any by failing to hint at moments of poignancy no matter how misplaced. Meanwhile Fey, Weitz, and everything else about the film were tagged with poor reviews.

And #6 is A24′s Spring Breakers (1,104 theaters) grossed a strong $1.9M Friday and $1.6M Saturday with $4.5M for the weekend in expanded but still small release. Quirky yet iconoclastic writer and director Harmony Korine’s R-rated hallucinatory dramedy stars James Franco with Disney/ABC Family princesses trying to shed their virginal images – Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens – all with Korine’s wife Rachel hellbent on a Florida vacation to the dark side. It scored the top limited opening of 2013 last weekend based on per screen averages from 3 theaters in NYC and LA. But it’s no arthouse film nor Beach Blanket Bingo. Instead this cheaply made ($2M cost) seamy sexploitation encouraging drinking and drugs and violence is from the distribution outfit backed by Guggenheim Partners which owns The Hollywood Reporter and made sure the celebrity sheet cravenly hyped every angle of the lurid film and its cast and their SXSW appearance and theatrical opening. A24 acquired domestic rights from Annapurna Pictures whose Megan Ellison tellingly didn’t take a producer credit. (Probably because she was too embarrassed.) Love Streams Agnes B Productions and Muse Productions financed and produced.

The weekend is way down (-33%) from last year because the Top Ten total won’t even equal the $152.5M opening of The Hunger Games. Based on weekend estimates:

1. The Croods (DreamWorks Animation/Fox) NEW [Runs 4,046] PG
Friday $11.6M, Saturday $18.5M, Weekend $44.0M

2. Olympus Has Fallen (FilmDistrict) NEW (Runs 3,098] R
Friday $10.0M, Saturday $12.8M, Weekend $30.8M

3. Oz The Great and Powerful (Disney) Week 3 [Runs 3,805] PG
Friday $5.7M, Saturday $10.2M, Weekend $23.0M, Cume $178.5M

4. The Call (TriStar/Sony) Week 2 [Runs 2,507] R
Friday $2.6M, Saturday$4.0M , Weekend $9.1M (-47%), Cume $31.3M

5. Admission (Focus Features) NEW [Runs 2,160] PG13
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $6.6M

6. Spring Breakers (A24) Week 2 [Runs 1,104] R
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $4.5M, Cume $5.0M

7. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros) Week 2 [Runs 3,160] PG13
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.4M, Cume $17.4M

8. Jack The Giant Slayer (Warner Bros) Week 4 [Runs 2,560] PG13
Friday $765K, Saturday $1.4M, Weekend $3.0M, Cume $59.1M

9. Identity Thief (Universal) Week 7 [Runs 2,166] R
Friday $760K, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $2.6M, Cume $127.8M

10. Snitch (Summit/Lionsgate) Week 5 [Runs 1,807] PG13
Friday $545K, Saturday $910K, Weekend $1.9M, Cume $40.4M

Mobile 3D: quick death of a nascent technology? | FierceWireless

From FierceWireless by Phil Goldstein on 3/7/13

A little more than two years ago, at Mobile World Congress 2011, LG Electronics took the wraps off the LG Optimus 3D, which, as LG’s promotional material put it, was “a stunning super-smartphone with unparalleled 3D performance.” The phone was released at the height of the consumer frenzy around 3D TVs, which came a little more than a year after 3D film Avatar broke box office records, spurring a rush of 3D films and interest in the technology.

Yet two years later, the Optimus 3D looks less like a herald for an era of 3D smartphones and more like a cautionary tale of carriers and OEMs putting too much emphasis too soon on a still-developing technology. Other 3D smartphones followed, including HTC’s Evo 3D, yet analysts and even carrier and handset representatives agree that the 3D content ecosystem was not strong enough to support continued development of 3D phones.

“Wide 3D acceptance is still some years away,” said Dr. Henry Nho, LG’s chief research engineer and the lead engineer on its Optimus 3D and Optimus 3D Max phones.

The 3D push

The impetus behind including 3D screen and video capture technology in smartphones had less to do with the 3D ecosystem and more to do with the expanding capabilities of smartphones, especially the advent of dual-core mobile processors in 2010.

“I remember sitting in a meeting, summer of 2010, where both the engineering and product planning teams were present, and we were literally going through a list of ‘exotic’ things that we wanted to do but [had never been] on a smartphone,” Nho said. He also noted that the company’s development of its “NOVA” display made 3D on a smartphone possible because LG had worked to get the display to be bright enough.

HTC Evo 3D Sprint
HTC Evo 3D

Similarly, work on the HTC Evo 3D began in early 2010, according to Trevor Van Norman, Sprint Nextel’s (NYSE:S) director of product marketing. He said Sprint and HTC, which declined to comment for this article, got together “to define the initial concept as part of our regular portfolio planning process.” He said the companies wanted to build on the success of the Evo 4G, which Sprint launched in June 2010 to record sales. “So there was an interest in delivering super phone capabilities and improve on the original (better processor, display, battery, etc.),” he said.

Carriers seek differentiation

Above all, the carriers were seeking differentiation. Sprint announced its support for the Evo 3D in March 2011 and launched the gadget in June, around the same time that AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) threw its support behind the Optimus 3D, which it rebranded as the LG Thrill 4G.

Van Norman said Sprint “wanted to differentiate in the market with features that were relevant and evolutionary for the mobile space, and 3D was a differentiator.” He also noted that the carrier wanted to tack onto the evolution of the home media market, which was filling up with 3D TVs from LG, Samsung Electronics, Sony, Toshiba and others.

“We really did our research, studying key market trends and how to leverage those to differentiate Sprint in the marketplace,” Van Norman said. “3D was a trend the marketplace was seeing everywhere from movie theaters, television shows and even sporting events so we wanted to leverage this trend and in fact accelerate it.”

The Evo 3D was the first device in the United States to sport a qHD 3D display, delivering a “glasses-free” 3D viewing experience. The phone captured 3D video in 720p via dual 5-megapixel cameras, and it was able to play it back in 1080p. Sprint cited these potential use cases for the Evo 3D’s screen and 3D capture technology:

– “Real estate agents can create and share 3D virtual tours of homes that let out-of-town buyers ‘walk through’ the house and truly experience the listings before they can see them live;”

– “3D mapping of terrain will help build new and exciting features for navigation, and hikers will be able to get aerial views of the topography of rivers and mountains while in the backcountry;” and

– “Families can ‘relive’ the excitement of their vacation and feel like they are there again.”

AT&T also talked up the LG device’s 3D technology, especially its rear-facing, dual 5-megapixel stereoscopic 3D cameras. AT&T also said the phone would access to a “portfolio” of 3D content, including “preloaded 3D games, the Gameloft 3D Store, preloaded YouTube 3D, access to 3D movies from mSpot and more.”

“While consumer demand for 3D is relatively nascent, LG Thrill 4G both does 3D right and is also a superlative smartphone,” Jeff Bradley, AT&T’s senior vice president of devices, said in a statement at the time. AT&T declined to comment for this article.

AT&T’s first commercial for the LG Thrill 4G.

LG said it was pleased with the response to its 3D smartphones. Nho said that to date LG has sold more than 1 million Optimus 3D smartphones, and more than half a million of the follow-up model, the Optimus 3D Max, which was exclusive to the South Korean market. “Maybe not the next big trend in smartphones, but we were satisfied with these figures,” he said.

Van Norman said the reaction to the Evo 3D from analysts and bloggers was positive–he said they were “very impressed with not only the glasses-free 3D experience but also its form factor, hardware and software.” Indeed, reviews at that time largely bear that out, though some griped about the phone’s battery life and call quality. Van Norman declined to provide sales figures for the Evo 3D.

Despite not reaching eye-popping sales figures, Nho said LG is proud of what it achieved on the Optimus 3D. “Years of expertise in camera technology and vertically integrated business structure enabled us to introduce the world’s first 3D device with our own technology and sell seven digits worth of them,” he said. “I don’t think many companies in this industry could have done what we did.”

Lack of a content ecosystem bites

LG Optimus 3D
LG Optimus 3D

Indeed, not many companies tried. As this slide show attests, there have only been a handful of viable 3D smartphones outside of the Optimus 3D and Evo 3D, including the Sharp Galapagos 003SH for Japan and the Samsung W960 AMOLED 3D in South Korea. Yet amid a flurry of speculation ahead of the launch of the Galaxy S III in the spring of 2012, Samsung went out of its way to declare that it would not be brining 3D screen technology to its upcoming smartphones.

Why the reticence? The general consensus is that there wasn’t a strong content ecosystem to support the devices.

Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart noted that the only mobile device with a 3D display that has achieved any level of major commercial success is the Nintendo 3DS. He said the reason the device was successful is because there is a great deal of custom, 3D content for that platform.

“It was seen as a gimmick,” he said, referring to 3D smartphones. “For most of the things you do with the phone it was step backward.”

Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin also noted the lack of a content ecosystem for 3D phones, especially in terms of games for Android. “You need a virtuous cycle, and that failed to develop,” he said. “There was not strong developer support and there was not broad adoption across high-volume Android handset vendors. The apps didn’t appear, which failed to create demand for Google to build support [for 3D] into Android.”

Sprint’s Van Norman said that the carrier is always focused on software innovation and working with brands to meet its customers’ needs. Right now, he said, Sprint has “not necessarily seen the right products or seen 3D as a critical platform for differentiation currently in the market.” He also cited a weak content ecosystem as a reason for the lack of momentum. “Content developers and studios have been slow to evolve 3D content in television/video, mobile and online,” he said.

“We are continuing to develop new 3D technologies internally but in this business, timing is everything,” LG’s Nho acknowledged. “We’re convinced 3D is here to stay but we were probably too early. We can afford to wait and see how the market develops but right now, the focus is still on processor speed, display resolution and battery life.”

Both Nho and Van Norman said that working on 3D phones showed their respective companies could innovate and that the action helped elevate their brands. Greengart too noted that trial and error is crucial in the mobile industry. “I think you need to do a better job around software and support,” he said.