AT&T announces the LG Thrill 4G; glasses-free 3D comes to cellphones

Next Sunday is US launch day for Nintendo's new handheld gaming system, the 3DS. Although the 3DS brings several new features to the table, the big draw is the hands-free 3D graphics and cameras. You can play games in 3D as well as take and view pictures and video in 3D. The press (though not me...what's up with that, Nintendo!?) has had their hands on the 3DS for a few days now and reviews seem generally favorable (CNET, IGN, Engadget), with a somewhat short battery life (3-5 hours while playing in 3D) seeming to be the biggest knock against the new system.

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To me, the biggest drawback to the 3DS is that it's a handheld gaming system. Frankly my days of carrying one device to make calls with, one device to listen to music on, and one device for on-the-go-gaming are behind me. I want to do all of that stuff on my phone. And yet I'm intrigued by the idea of glasses-free 3D. Lucky for me, the LG Optimus 3G Android 2.2 phone is coming to AT&T, branded as the LG Thrill 4G. The Thrill has a 1 Ghz TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor, a 4.3" screen and twin 5 megapixel cameras capable of capturing 3D video at 720P, or 2D video at 1080P. It'll be easy to share your 2D content via either an HDMI-out port, or wirelessly via DLNA (it sounds like you can output 3D content to a 3D TV via HDMI but that isn't confirmed yet). The phone will come with both the standard Android Market and a dedicated “LG 3D Space" app which will showcase 3D games and videos. A price hasn't been mentioned nor is the launch anything firmer than "in the coming months." Nor is there any indication of how the 3D will be controlled. The Nintendo 3DS has a '3D slider' that lets you control how powerful the 3D effect is. The Thrill has a "3D button" but whether this turns the 3D effect on and off, or whether it's just a dedicated button to expose 3D content on the phone, isn't completely clear. I suspect it's a 3D on/off switch, though. Yeah, we've still got lots of questions we need answered. In the meantime TechRadar did a review of an LG Optimus 3D, the phone the Thrill is based on. TR didn't have a final build of the phone but the review can give you a feel for what we'll be getting when the Thrill 4G launches on AT&T sometime "in the coming months." This won't be the last 3D-enabled phone to be announced this week. Should Nintendo be worried?

Peter Smith writes about personal technology for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @pasmith


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