DoCoMo to roll out 3D-LCD mobile handset

NTT DoCoMo Inc. will launch a mobile handset on Nov. 16 that gives the illusion of three-dimensional (3D) effects on its LCD (liquid crystal display), the company announced Wednesday.

The new camera-equipped SH251iS, manufactured by Sharp Corp., enables users to convert still images recorded with or downloaded to the handset into 3D images, a world first, NTT DoCoMo said in a statement.

Its 2.2-inch 65,536-color TFT (thin film transistor) LCD can show the 3D effects of these converted images.

The 3D illusion is created by projecting different images to the right and left eyes, tricking the viewer's brain into perceiving depth in the image. The handset's LCD is divided into odd and even-numbered strips. By controlling the direction of the back-light, even-numbered strips can be projected to the right eye and odd-numbered strips to the left eye.

The handset contains a 310,000-pixel digital still camera which can also record video for 10 seconds. Approximately 1,000 standard quality still images or 50 ten-second video clips can be stored on the handset, NTT DoCoMo of Tokyo said. Light from the camera's flash can be tinted with one of seven colored filters to add atmosphere to pictures.

The SH251iS has a clamshell design, measuring 95 millimeters by 50 millimeters by 24 millimeters when folded, with a 1.2-inch color LCD window on the back. Its continuous talk time is about 135 minutes, the company said.

The new handset works with NTT DoCoMo's I-shot service, which allows users to send and receive still images on their handsets. Since the launch of the service in June, the company has sold 2.5 million I-shot handsets, NTT DoCoMo's President and Chief Executive Officer Keiji Tachikawa said last week at a news conference in Tokyo.

The SH251iS will be priced somewhere between ¥20,000 and ¥30,000 (US$167 and $251), according to NTT DoCoMo.