3D Gaming on Your Phone

A leaked presentation slide from Nvidia ahead of next months Mobile World Congress confirms that the graphics chip giant is planning to release a 3D capable mobile graphics chip within the first quarter of 2011 – if it’s genuine that is.

The Tegra 2 3D chip is an anhanced, 3D capable version of the brilliant Tegra 2 chip already found in netbooks and some  forthcoming tablets.

3D is the biggest thing since the last big thing and is likely to remain so until the next big thing, so there is a danger that 3d displays will be rushed on to phones because it’s so now without any thought of how best to use it.

Adding glasses-free 3D to portable devices has the potential to make all sorts of new things possible on your mobile including 3D gaming and movies, but how much 3D will actually add to the experience on a small screen remains to be seen.  Like watching a 2D movie on a small mobile phone screen, it’s likely to be disappointing once you get over the novelty.

That said, 3D may prove to offer new ways of interacting with your phone, 3d enhancements to menus and navigation may actually improve functionality. 3d displays on mobile phones are of no use in and of themselves, the test will be how software companies make use of it.

One potential source of new found 3D awesome may come via Microsoft, the motion and position sensing capabilities that Kinect sprung on an unsuspecting world coupled with 3D could allow all sorts of clever UI innovations.  Imagine being able to push and pull things in and out of your mobile screen, not just up-down-left-right as with today’s touch screens.

3D rendering of interface elements has always been somewhat limited by the 2D nature of most input devices and displays. Think about the rolodex of open programs in Windows Vista, it looked cool even if it did hog all your system resources, but true 3D display and a 3D input device could make such features genuinely useful.

One thing is for sure though, the pace of innovation in mobile devices shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

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