MWC 2011: LG unveils new Optimus 3D handset

LG shows off new handset as 3D fever hits the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
LG Optimus 3D handset
LG's Optimus 3D handset which does not require special glasses to see the stereoscopic effect. Photograph: LG LG/LG

LG has unveiled its Optimus 3D handset at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The smartphone features a 4.3-inch 3D-capable touchscreen that uses parallax barrier technology, which means that, like Nintendo's forthcoming 3DS console, it does not require the user to wear special glasses to see the stereoscopic effect. Also like the 3DS, the device has a slider which turns the 3D effect down – or off completely.

The addition of two 5mp cameras will allow owners to record video footage in 3D. According to CNET, the device can record 3D video at a resolution of 720p, while standard 2D films output at 1080p. An HDMI connection means users can view their footage on a TV – 3D films can also be uploaded directly to a dedicated 3D YouTube channel. The mind, quite frankly, boggles.

Powering the Google Android device is a dual-core Omap4430 chipset, by Texas Instruments, based around the latest ARM Cortex A9 instruction set and a PowerVR SGX540 graphics accelerator – the same technology that is driving Sony's NGP games console.

Early responses from the MWC showfloor have been favourable but there have been some reservations. Tech Radar stated:

There was a real depth to the images, to which the size of the screen also lent itself. We can't imagine 3D content on a smaller screen would be worth using. The background may have been spectacular, but the foreground was a little bit trickier. There's a definite sweet spot directly in front the face and if you mediate from here you end up with quite a bit of fuzz and loss of the 3D effect.

In terms of game support, the Optimus 3D will ship with three pre-installed titles from Gameloft: Let's Golf 2, Asphalt Origins and Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance.

But LG did not have the 3D scene to itself today. Qualcomm has also announced its new quad-core Snapdragon APQ8064 chipset, "for next generation tablets and computing devices". The technology is designed to achieve speeds of up to 2.5GHz per core, while minimising power consumption. It will also support HD gaming and stereoscopic 3D photo and video capture, and will output in full HD to 1080P displays via HDMI.