Fire Phone: Can Amazon make us fall in love with 3D?

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Fire Phone: Can Amazon make us fall in love with 3D?


With the launch of a new 3D smartphone, Amazon has ventured into a market where few still dare to tread.


A series of failures have led handset-makers to all but abandon 3D tech, but the US giant is betting on finally making us desire the extra dimension in our daily screen interactions.

If history is anything to go by, Jeff Bezos' company will have to overcome significant hurdles.

In the early 1890s, British film pioneer William Friese-Greene filed a patent for a novel stereoscopic technology.

More than 120 years later, 3D, as the viewing process has become known, is still not a household phenomenon, despite enjoying some recent success on the silver screen.

Previous attempts to introduce 3D phones have failed spectacularly, partly because "they haven't solved any problem that consumers have," explains Avi Greengart, a consumer device expert for Current Analysis.

Early failures

Back in 2002, Sharp unveiled a mobile phone that could convert pictures to 3D - which were viewable without pesky 3D glasses - thanks to its use of a technology developed in the UK.

It used a technique called the parallax barrier. Simply put, it directed slightly different images to each eye, creating a 3D effect, albeit a fairly mundane one.


A trickle of subsequent 3D phones failed to make a splash, and manufacturers all but abandoned the idea.

Until, that is, James Cameron's Avatar movie - a 3D spectacular - became the highest grossing film of all time, taking in almost $2.8bn (£1.6bn) worldwide after its release in 2009.

3D phones from HTC, LG, and once again Sharp, soon followed - but they too were met with a large shrug.

Some blamed the lack of sharing capabilities, as only friends with 3D handsets would be able to receive pictures or videos from the devices.

Others identified the paucity of apps on the devices, with few developers taking the opportunity to build specific programs for the 3D ecosystems, citing the lack of demand.

3D or 2.5D?

Amazon hopes to change all that with its latest offering. The Fire Phone doesn't send images flying off the screen, but rather uses pseudo-3D effects to enhance the experience of using a smartphone.



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