Glasses-free 3D comes to mobiles with LG's Optimus

First 3D took off at the cinema before moving into the living room with the rise of 3D televisions, now it is coming to mobile phones – and without the need for silly glasses.

LG Electronics announced the launch of the Optimus 3D at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona yesterday. The company also revealed it had struck a deal with YouTube to provide users with 3D mobile content.

Jong-seok Park, the chief executive of LG, said the phone was "our answer to two major pain points of the current 3D experience: limited mobility and specialised glasses".

The group also launched a 3D-enabled tablet device. The devices will be available on Orange when they launch in the UK in the spring.

Analysts at CCS Insight said that while consumer demand for 3D "remains unclear and will be widely viewed as a gimmick," the experience after having played with the phone "is better than many will expect". The Optimus, which has a 4.3in touch screen and is powered by the Google-developed Android operating system, has twin cameras so users can also shoot in 3D. The content can then be uploaded to YouTube and viewed by others who have the device.

Delegates flocked to LG's stand to test the device yesterday. Not all were impressed, with some complaining it hurt their eyes after a while.

While this is the first 3D phone from a major manufacturer, Nintendo has already brought glasses-free 3D to the small screen with the launch of hand-held console The Nintendo 3GS announced last year.

The announcement of LG's phone followed the unveiling of Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play, dubbed the "PlayStation phone". The device runs on the latest Android smartphones. Gamers can slide down the controls which have dual touchpads, and will be able to download PlayStation games when it launches later this year.

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