Avatar may have done serious business at the box office, but fans didn't respond by taking their bulky, cinema glasses into their home theaters. Last year's wave of 3D-enabled TV sets haven't been selling—really, they're tanking—which has left an industry wondering what to do with the fad.
Games company Nintendo might have the right idea: deliver 3-D on a portable system, and take the glasses out of the equation.
The Nintendo 3DS, announced months ago in Japan, received an official American unveiling this morning with a March 27 release date and a $249.99 price tag. It's the first major American gizmo to sport a no-glasses 3-D display, developed by Sharp, and it works by sending alternating images to left and right eyes when held at the right distance.
Other neat gimmicks include two rear-facing cameras, which let users take 3-D photos; a pedometer that awards points in certain games for getting up and walking around; and an always-on wifi mode that seeks other 3DS units for, say, social games. The system will also support one of my favorite new gaming trends, augmented reality (AR): aim the 3DS camera at a card on a table, and the screen will show that card transform into creatures and objects that can be played with by moving the camera around.