Toshiba UK will begin selling what it calls the first glasses-free 3D laptop next month. The awkwardly named Qosmio F750 will allow viewing of both two- and three dimensional content such as games and movies. But the drawback is that only one person at a time can enjoy the 3D effects by sitting directly in front of it.
Toshiba did not announce the price of the 15.6-inch display Qosmio F750, which will debut in England, but some press reports estimated it at a hefty $2,100.
The Qosmio is part of a growing slate of glasses-free 3D products hitting the market, from Nintendo's recent 3DS portable game player to smartphones such as HTC's 3D 4G, which debuted this month and several televisions, including Toshiba's REGZA GL1.
For Solo Gamers
So where does a 3D laptop fit in and what is its intended demographic?
"This seems aimed more at hard-core gamers than anyone else, due to the audio system," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, referring to the distortion-free stereo speakers designed for Dolby Advanced Audio HDMI-CEC optimzation. "I doubt Alienware will stay up late worrying about it, though. I suppose you could also use it for 3D films but the single-user limitations would kill showing off for your date."
Alienware, a subsidiary of Dell, is a Miami based maker of computers designed especially for gaming.
Other laptops on the market that support 3D include the Fujitsu Lifebook, HP's Envy 17 and the Asus G51JX.
Toshiba lists five 3D laptops on its Web site: The Qosmio X775 ($1899.99), Satellite 5775 ($1,199.99) and three models of the Satellite A655 ($1,299.99 each).
The Qosmio F750 uses a "lenticular" screen which creates a slightly different perspective for each eye to create the 3D effect with full HD resolution for vivid images, and Toshiba says a 120Hz refresh rate will eliminate blur or ghosting.
The integrated webcam tracks the user's eye movements, allowing the laptop to adjust the 3D effect to match the eye position. Both 2D and 3D images can be displayed simultaneously so users can browse web sites while watching 3D content.
Toshiba is also marketing the Qosmio F750 to developers and other creators, noting that product concepts, architecture plans, medical information or educational tools "can be viewed with unparalleled realism and greater depth."
The Qosmio F750 is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia Geforce GT540M graphics processor with a SATA 640 gigabyte hard drive with 6GB DDR3 (1333MHz) random access memory. It also has a Blu-ray XL re-recordable drive and runs Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, with Wi-Fi 802.11 and Bluetooth 3.0.
In its hands-on review of a test model, Engadget said the "the videos we saw were pretty mouthwatering -- at least once our eyes and brain adjusted to the 3D effect" and "The eye-tracking system was remarkably quick." But reviewer Sharif Sakr noted that the single-user 3D limit was "a major downside."