Toronto-based Spatial View Inc. is set to bring 3D content to Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. A simple case and lens makes it possible to view 3D video and games on the iPhone without using glasses, and a digital storefront will create a new market for 3D content that fits in your pocket.
Welcome to the offices of Spatial View Inc. Here everything is in 3D — the 46-inch monitor that greets you as you enter, the laptop screens, and yes – even the iPhones.
This Toronto-based firm is seeing the third dimension from a different angle. While 3D TVs are being showcased in retail stores, CEO Beat Raemy says 3D content on smaller screens will be more popular.
“We believe adoption will come earlier on mobile and laptop, not so much in the TV space,” he says. “People just invested in HD TV. They may not be willing to spend more dollars to get 3D TV at home.”
And even better, you don’t need to wear glasses to watch Spatial View’s 3D screens. How is that possible?
“Instead of having glasses in front of your eyes, you have a similar system directly in front of the LCD,” he says. “It splits the image in two and sends that to each of your eyes, and then in your brain you put the experience together.”
For less than $20 customers will be able to buy Spatial View’s 3D iPhone and iPod Touch case this summer. Al Lopez is Spatial View’s chief operating officer. He bets consumers will jump at a chance to have 3D in their pockets.
“The iPhone is a good medium for viewing 3D content, the screen is at the right orientation and you get a high resolution with the lenticular lens,” he says.
“Being a mobile device, it gives people the opportunity to enjoy 3D content while on the go, and it’s a conversation piece to show other people.”
The 3D screens will also be available for laptops around the end of this year. It is a larger version of the same lenticular screen technology used on the iPhone. The screen overlays go up to 30 inches in size.
“We are currently talking to some major OEMs in the laptop and PC space,” Raemy says. “It’s a low-risk and a low-cost 3D solution.”
Spatial View’s content store, 3DeeCentral, will be a free download on the App Store. Users will be able to download both free and paid content from the mobile storefront. Content will include sporting events, music videos, movie trailers and comic books.
“These are studios that have been filming in 3D for a number of years and they’ve been waiting for the industry to really go mainstream,” Lopez says. “That’s what is happening right now. 3DeeCentral really represents an opportunity for them to monetize the investment they’ve made in 3D content.”
For Spatial View, this represents a shift in its market strategy. It is no longer targeting businesses with digital signage screens. They refer to those larger monitors as “legacy devices.” To them, the future is mobile.
“Our speciality really is mobile and laptops,” Raemy says. “Our focus is on the consumer markets.”
Spatial View will sell iPhone cases via its Web site and in retail outlets packaged with partner content, Lopez says. Many companies are also interested in distributing the case as a promotional item to feature specific content.
This isn’t the first time 3D has tried to penetrate the marketplace. But with lots of momentum right now, this may be the time it finally sticks.
“I think this time around there’s enough critical mass,” Raemy says.”You’ve seen the move from black and white to colour, and now to HD, and we believe 3D is here to stay. It’s the next wave.”
Spatial View wants to play a role in that wave — and find its way into your pocket.
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