More 3D, tablets and Panasonic's Jungle game system all set for 2011
The technology that we can expect in the year ahead
Henry Northmore looks ahead at some of the tech that will be making an impact in 2011
Rule of three
There’s no denying that 3D was a game changer at the cinema in 2010, from the megahit of Avatar, to smaller kids pictures such as Despicable Me and horror films such as Saw 3D everyone seemed to want in on the act and the lucrative box-office boost. It may have proved there’s a demand for 3D products but it’s been a slow seller in the home, admittedly Sky only started broadcasting 3D TV content very recently but the uptake hasn’t been as swift as for HD, which has rapidly become industry standard – something off-putting in the idea of sitting around your own home wearing 3D glasses perhaps?
Hoping to overcome that problem is Toshiba, who previewed their 12” and 20” 3D Regza GL1 series in Japan last October. It’s the first fully 3D capable LCD TV that doesn’t require glasses. It does only have very limited viewing angles (even if you move your head you can lose the effect), lower than HD resolution and a hefty price tag, but still represents an important stage in the evolution of true home 3D.
Japan upped the 3D ante this year, claiming they could broadcast all matches to stadiums across the globe as part of their World Cup bid for 2022. Junji Ogura chairman of the bid told FIFA: ‘There will be a live relay of World Cup matches, played out life-size in 3D.’ ‘Just imagine the crowds in 400 stadiums watching matches, looking down at the pitch turned into a giant screen. This is not science fiction, it is science fact,’ added Sony Corp chairman Howard Stringer.
Bold ideas for the future, but more immediately there’s the launch of Nintendo’s impressive 3DS handheld gaming device (which also doesn’t need glasses) to consider on 31 March. It all goes to show that 3D is here for the foreseeable, if only the technology can catch up to what consumers really want.
Talking of handhelds, Panasonic are throwing their hat into the ring with the launch of the new Jungle game system. They ended up with a massive flop on their hands when they launched the 3DO in 1993, however this system is geared towards MMORGS (Massively Multi Player Online Role Playing Games) so hopefully they have judged their target audience with a bit more savvy than last time.
Another trend that will continue is the unrelenting march of the tablet. Apple’s iPad 2 is expected early this year while BlackBerry’s PlayBook is rumoured to drop in March. With larger screens, faster processing speeds and the launch of the likes of Richard Branson’ s Project magazine and Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily newspaper solely for iPad, there’s proof that the bigwigs are willing in invest heavily in new distribution formats, providing even more incentive to jump on the shiny rectangular bandwagon, and making technology even more mobile for 2011.