Sharp releases 3-D notebook

Sharp Systems of America today began selling the first notebook with a 3-D LCD screen.

The Sharp Actius RD3D comes with 2-D to 3-D thin-film resistor LCD technologies, which can convert images at the push of a button. Since the 3-D images are rendered without the need for special glasses, the user is required to sit a certain distance from the notebook and pivot to a specific position or sweet spot.

The sweet spot is different for everyone and finding it takes a little practice. The Huntington Beach, Calif., company incorporates a black-to-red guide bar on the bottom of the 15-inch screen that turns completely red once the user finds the 3-D mode sweet spot.

In a quick test two months ago of the Actius' 3-D capabilities, I found it effective, particularly in combination with graphic-intensive applications such as simulation software.

The 3-D rendering only works with software altered for the technology, which according to Sharp isn't difficult or expensive.

The 3-D view is achieved when your eyes see two different sides of an image simultaneously. By figuring out how to properly separate an image for an LCD, Sharp was able to create the illusion of a 3-D image.

This requires top-of-the-line components. Actius comes with a 2.80-GHz Pentium processor, a 60G hard drive, 512M of double-data-rate synchronous dynamic RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce4 440 Go graphic processor with 64M of dedicated memory.

The $3,299 Actius RD3D also comes with a special optical drive capable of playing back 3-D DVD content, as well as DVD+RW, DVD-R/W, CD+RW and CD-R/W.

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