Tag Archives | Sharp

3D Smartphones Don't Make Much Sense

On a quiet island within Sharp’s CES booth, a handful of glasses-free 3D smartphones were on display. They had eye-catching layered menus, 3D conversion of standard photos and a cute demo of swimming fish. (Rule of thumb: every 3D demo involves sea animals at some point.)

It only took a few minutes of playing around to see how undesirable all this 3D could be.

On tbe most obvious level, staring at a glasses-free 3D screen for a prolonged period can have a dizzying effect, but not all 3D is created equal, and maybe Sharp’s implementation is sub-par. My real concern is that smartphones aren’t conducive to 3D content in the first place.

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More Projector Phones? Yes, Please.

Front-facing camera? Feh. As far as bells and whistles go, I’d take a smartphone with a built-in projector over one with video chat any day, so I’m happy to see that Sharp is keeping the dream alive, at least in Japan.

MobileCrunch reports that the SH-05C comes with a built-in DLP projector, good for up to two hours of video on the nearest wall. It’ll launch through NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest wireless carrier, in February 2011.

I like the idea of blowing up photos and videos from a phone for everyone to see. Unfortunately, projector phones still have a long way to go before they can become practical additions to top-shelf smartphones. DLP projectors, like the one in Sharp’s phone, aren’t ideal for well-lit rooms — the folks in Sharp’s press shots seem to be hanging out in the dark — and its resolution is a mere 640-by-480. The DLP projector accessory for LG’s Expo, a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone that’s no longer available from AT&T, is even worse, with 480-by-320 resolution.

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Microsoft Phones Revealed?

Gizmodo is certainly on a roll–after publishing what seems to be a Microsoft video of a dual-screen concept tablet PC, it’s dug up photos that supposedly show two Windows Mobile smartphones which will be cobranded by Microsoft and Sharp. One looks a lot like a Palm Pre, one looks kind of like a Sidekick, and neither is inherently exciting. Then again, it won’t be hardware designs that will make any upcoming Windows Mobile phone a big whoop–that’ll only occur if Windows Mobile 7 turns out to be a great leap forward. At the moment, at least, almost all smartphone hardware isn’t much more than a container for software–even with the iPhone, maybe fifteen percent of what makes it interesting is the hardware, and the rest is the iPhone OS.


The Feds Bust Open an LCD Price-Fixing Ring

If you ever thought that you overpaid for a device containing an LCD screen, your suspicions were correct. It turns out that there was a global conspiracy to set LCD prices artificially high, and the culprits were some of the biggest manufacturers in the marketplace.

Chunghwa Picture Tubes, LG Display, and Sharp have all been found to be in violation of the U..S’s Sherman Act. Lawyered up and doubtlessly looking for an easy out, the terrible trio plead guilty on Wednesday to charges filed under an ongoing Department of Justice antitrust investigation into price fixing and have agreed to pay a combined $585 million in criminal fines.

The scope of the DOJ’s investigation was truly impressive. It cooperated with enforcement officials on three continents: North America, Europe and Asia, according to a statement by US assistant attorney general Thomas O. Bartnett. He noted that the case, “…exemplifies the need to prosecute and deter international cartels that harm American consumers and businesses.”

The list of sins compiled by the government included engaging in bilateral meetings, regular conferences and other communication, in addition to exchanging sales figures in a coordinated conspiracy to fix prices for LCD panels worldwide. In doing so, the trio managed to fool the hardware manufacturers they sold panels to, including Apple, Dell and Motorola. Now, that would even make Vito Corleone proud.

Of course the plea agreements are subject to court approval, and the trio will remain under the watchful eye of regulators. However, the damage to our wallets has already been done. Expect some civil actions to be filed on behalf of consumers. Where’s a good trial lawyer when you need one?

In an era where corporate governance has been an afterthought and high-powered Wall Street executives were all too willing to play roulette with default credit swaps, forgive me if I question whether the aforementioned manufacturers of monitors and PCs would have passed on any cost savings to customers anyway. Executive bonuses are another story.

I attempted to reach an IDC analyst to discuss the matter and offer you something other than my own pithy remarks, but was unable to do so before press time.

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