Acer to build laptop with 3-D screen

By Eric Lai, Computerworld |  Hardware, Acer, laptop

Hoping to ride a recent surge in movies and TV shows filmed in 3-D, Acer Inc. plans to release a notebook PC this fall equipped with a 15.6-inch 3-D screen, according to a report.

The notebook will have built-in software that can correctly display 3-D movies but also convert regular 2-D movies into 3-D, Campbell Kan, vice president of Acer's mobile computing unit, told the Taiwanese magazine, Digitimes on Monday.

A request for confirmation with Acer officials in the U.S. was not immediately returned.

Acer won't be the first to offer 3-D-enabled notebooks. In 2003, Sharp Corp. released its Actius RD3D notebook with nearly identical 3-D rendering capabilities.

The Actius RD3D was targeted at biotech researchers, car designers and architects. But even within that specialized business audience, it did not appear to catch on widely and was discontinued within several years.

The 3-D laptop was even panned by sister magazine PC World in 2006 as being one of the 25 worst tech products of all time for its poor 3-D effects and for being hard on the eyes.

The Acer notebook, apparently aimed at a consumer audience, may have a better chance to catch on.

More than a dozen major Hollywood movies have been released in the last three years that were filmed in 3-D, including animated movies such as Monsters vs. Aliens, Bolt, Chicken Little and Up, action-heavy or gory movies such as Journey to the Center of the Earth, My Bloody Valentine and Scar, and concert films such as U2 3D and Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert.

Directors, including Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, have thrown their support behind films in 3-D. There have also been a number of network TV shows and commercials broadcast recently in 3-D.

Consumer electronics companies such as Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Technnologies Inc. are also building TVs with 3-D screens.

Users of Acer's first-generation notebook will still need to wear stereoscopic glasses for the 3-D to be effective, Kan said, though future models should be able to show the content in 3-D without special glasses.

The notebook will ship with Windows 7 and be available at the end of October, Kan said. No names or prices were announced.

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