Sharp Announces 3D / 2D Switchable Touchscreen LCD Screens

3D... is it about to make 2D the new Black & White? It might seem so, with the much-ballyhooed three dimensional viewing style exploding onto movie screens with the blockbuster film Avatar and then, slamming into our living rooms with a new generation of 3D TV screens. What's next?

If 3D hit in a big way, its progress seems to be trickling down to smaller applications like hand-held gaming consoles and smartphones. It's the latter that Sharp has now targeted with its recent announcement of a new technology that allows high-quality 3D viewing on smartphone-sized screens - without the need for special glasses!

The  3.4-inch crystal display panel Sharp demonstrated displayed 3D images in both portrait and landscape screen orientations so you know their engineers had smartphones in mind during the screen's development phase.

To quote Sharp's press release, "Sharp Corporation has developed a 3D touchscreen LCD featuring the industry’s highest brightness that can switch between 2D and 3D modes. Users can view 3D images without the need to wear special glasses, making this LCD ideal for mobile devices such as digital cameras, mobile phones, and smartphones."

Read between the lines and you'll see that this really is, as VP Joe Biden might say, a BFD. Not only is the viewing quality on a par with what is currently offered by the 3D Shutter glasses technology pushed by Panasonic and Sony, Sharp's system features maximum brightness of 500cd/m2 compared to the 250cd/m2 offered by the competition. As well, Sharp's upcoming screens provide a contrast ratio of 1000:1 compared to just 100:1 for Panasonic and Sony.

Sharp expects to ramp up non-touchscreen 3D LCD screen production in the first half of the 2010 fiscal year and by September Sharp's factory in Japan's Mie prefecture should be in full production mode with both types of 3D LCD screens. (via Akihabara News and Mainichi Daily News)