Sony Planning 3D Notebook, TV Channel: Report

Sony follows HP and Lenovo into the 3D notebook space with an announcement of a 3D-capable Vaio notebook coming next spring, according to reports from the IFA consumer electronics trade show.

At the IFA electronics show in Berlin, Sony showed off a prototype of a notebook computer that can display 3D video and games at 1080p resolution, according to a CNET report. Company CEO Howard Stringer confirmed during a press conference that 3D Sony Vaio laptops would be available next spring, though no pricing details were mentioned. The announcement adds to Sony's previous moves into the 3D entertainment market, following confirmation that its Blu-ray players and PlayStation 3 gaming console would receive firmware updates to become 3D capable.

During an elaborate press conference, Sony also unveiled plans to launch a 3D TV channel that would feature content include natural history, children's programming, science and motion pictures, according to the CNET report. Sony's motion picture division also plans to unveil several 3D movies soon, many of them sequels to blockbusters from the past two decades. "Being shot in 3D doesn't automatically guarantee success," Stringer was quoted as saying. "What counts is how well you tell a story. A hit is still a hit--except in 3D it's a bigger hit."

Though the mainstream acceptance of 3D entertainment technology outside of the movie theater remains nascent, Sony is hardly alone in introducing the technology in the computer and gaming markets: HP is targeting the 3D trend with the Envy 17 3D, which comes with HP Active Shutter 3D glasses that integrate wirelessly with the laptop's 17.3-inch display. Lenovo's IdeaPad Y560d, the company's first multimedia laptop with a 3D display, features a TriDef 3D technology solution that includes a 3D screen, software and glasses.

On the home entertainment side, LG, the world's second-largest maker of TVs, forecast in June that global sales of 3D notebook computers would increase five fold next year to 1.1 million units and jump to 13.8 million units by 2015. This year's Consumer Electronics Show also saw a slew of 3D televisions debut, including models from JVC, Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba.

At the conference, 3D technology leader RealD announced agreements with some of the industry's top consumer electronics brands, including Sony, JVC, Samsung, Toshiba and Panasonic, to support the stereoscopic RealD Format for the delivery and display of high-definition 3D in the home. Many of these companies said they will also work with RealD to develop premium active (shutter) glasses and passive glasses compatible with their 3D-enabled displays.

As Sony prepares to enter the 3D realm in the gaming space, it will face competition from rivals Microsoft and Nintendo. Earlier this year, Nintendo announced the 3DS, a portable console Nintendo claimed lets users view games in 3D, without the need for special glasses. The 3DS comes with a 3.53-inch top screen and a 3.02-inch bottom touch screen and has three cameras - one inner and two outer - to deliver the 3D effect and take 3D pictures.

Sony's announcement was not the only big release to come out of IFA so far, however: Samsung took the opportunity to unveil the Galaxy Tab, a tablet computer featuring a 7-in. touch screen, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, a front-facing camera allows for face-to-face video telephony over 3G and a rear-facing camera captures still images and video that users can edit, upload and share. Powered by the Android Operating System 2.2, the Galaxy Tab is the first of the company's tablet devices.