3D Tablets? You can't be serious!

On January 27, 2011

Ben Harvell is a freelance writer and former editor of iCreate magazine. He now writes for a wide range of international technology magazines and websites including Macworld and Mac Format. He has written several books on consumer technology and blogs at www.benharvell.com. Ben covered the launch of the iPhone in 2007 and has been closely associated with the device and it’s rivals ever since. He has commissioned his own apps and reviews App Store content on a regular basis. He’s also rather obsessed with Twitter.

If it’s not working for TVs who thought it would be a good idea to make a 3D tablet?!

3D is destined to go the way of Betamax, WebTV and Laserdisc. Or rather, 3D is AGAIN destined to go that way. We’ve tried this before, guys and it didn’t work then. From the looks of it, it’s not going to work this time either. There are certain rules in the consumer tech game and one of them should almost certainly be “don’t make anything that requires stupid glasses to use”. Regardless, TV and camcorder manufacturers are all getting involved with this reinvented technology buzz and now it seems tablet manufacturers want in on the party. How long before we see 3D microwaves and dishwashers I wonder?

While traditional 3D displays are soon to arrive in a tablet form factor, the “smart” marketers are now touting 3D devices that don’t require glasses to enjoy the 3D experience. Great, make an already dodgy technology even less effective.

Maybe I’m being hideously short sighted here but what exactly is the benefit of a 3D tablet? Are we likely to hear; “I downloaded an app and it was like it flew at me while it installed” or “Scrabble is simply not the same unless you’re playing it in 3D” from consumers soon? Okay, I know it would make for a great movie viewing experience but come on, you want developers to start coding for these relatively new platforms AND include 3D functionality as well? Let’s get serious.

Until the 3D TV becomes more than a novelty I really can’t see the point in pushing the technology to mobile devices so we can update spreadsheets as if they were hovering in front of us. Like so many tech memes, 3D is being slapped on to all sorts of devices in the vain hope that it will generate more interest and boost sales. I’m not being sucked in. Until we reach the stage where I can video conference from my iPhone through some kind of Star Wars-esque hologram projection I’m not buying into this 3D fad. There are plenty of things I enjoy in 3D with my own two eyes on a daily basis, I don’t need my tablet to try to replicate the experience of ACTUALLY LOOKING AT SOMETHING in the name of “cutting edge technology”.