Last Updated on Sunday, 08 April 2012 07:51 Published on Thursday, 01 July 2010 19:21
As PC makers expand their lines to include 3D laptops, analysts say these offerings are likely to interest mostly gamers, with broad adoption stymied by a dearth of content, hardware limitations and hefty prices.
Last month, companies including Asustek Computer, Toshiba and Lenovo announced new 3D laptops with screens ranging from 15.6 inches to 17.3 inches. The laptops are priced at US$1,200 and higher, and come with glasses for viewers to watch 3D content. The laptops are targeted at consumers looking for richer multimedia experiences on PCs.
However, high prices could limit their appeal to early adopters looking for the latest hardware, analysts said. There's also limited 3D movie and broadcast content available.
Laptop makers are trying to position 3D technology as a new way for users to interact with PCs, said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. But gamers are likely -- as is often the case with new PC technologies -- to be the early adopters because they are willing to pay for cutting-edge hardware that gives them a more immersive experience.
"Some people will wait until there's enough content that makes it interesting for them," Kay said.
But in some cases, smaller laptop screen sizes may not appeal to gamers either, said John Jacobs, director of notebook market research at DisplaySearch.
"If the whole purpose is to get immersed in the game display, you're going to want the biggest screen possible," Jacobs said.
That won't matter to some enthusiasts who want the latest and greatest, though, said Kelt Reeves, CEO of PC maker Falcon Northwest, which sells laptops and desktops to that audience. The additional cost of a 3D screen is small relative to what the company's enthusiast audience is willing to pay for a laptop, Reeves said. The company's cheapest laptop sells for $1,500, and the most powerful desktop replacement models start at $4,000, Reeves said.
"Even if you don't use it that often, I don't see why anyone wouldn't want to have the 3D capability, whether it's for gaming or just watching 3D movies," Reeves said. "These are serious laptop users who want the kitchen sink."
One avid gamer, Amanda Farough, said a $1,000 price tag for a 3D laptop is fairly reasonable. She usually plays massively multiplayer online (MMO) games and shooters, and says that 3D adds more interactivity to the gaming experience.
"I think that 3D gaming will allow for a depth that was previously untapped, especially for genres like first-person shooters and action-adventures," said Farough, who is a Web designer and also a game editor for the Gaming Angels Web site.
But for now, the overall adoption of 3D screens -- including laptops and desktops -- is limited, DisplaySearch's Jacobs said. DisplaySearch is projecting 3D laptop screen shipments to tally 179,000 units this year, out of a total of 217.8 million laptop screens. Shipments will grow to 611,000 in 2011 and 1.7 million by 2012, but will still take up a small share of the market. [computerworld]