x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

LG's 3D smartphone launched in UAE

James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar sparked a trend for 3D technology, which the mobile phone industry is the latest to capitalise on.

LG Optimus 3D smartphone will be available exclusively through Sharaf DG stores for the first week.Gustau Nacarino / Reuters
LG Optimus 3D smartphone will be available exclusively through Sharaf DG stores for the first week.Gustau Nacarino / Reuters

First came James Cameron's 3D blockbuster Avatar, then three-dimensional TVs - now the medium has gone mobile.

And fans of high technology across the Emirates can now get their hands on one of the world's first 3D phones. The LG Optimus 3Dsmartphone was launched in the UAE on Thursday and will be available exclusively through Sharaf DG stores for the first week.

The handset, which costs Dh2,999, displays three-dimensional images without the need to use special glasses and has two cameras on the back to capture 3D images.

"LG is the only [company which has a] 3D mobile that you can not only watch, but you can capture your 3D moment and send it and view it on a large screen," said Hyung Shik Paik, the president of LG Electronics Gulf. "You can have a lot of fun with this phone."

It had the potential to become a big seller, he said. "In a couple of years probably more than half of the phones [we sell] will be in 3D."

However, the sales launch is starting small, with just 500 phones initially up for sale in the Emirates.

But "the UAE is very robust in terms of the economic situation compared to others", said Mr Paik. "Hopefully it will be as good as Korea, [where LG has sold] more than 250,000 units. In Europe it is probably another 350,000 units."

LG introduced the phone to capitalise on the trend sparked by Avatar and spent a year developing the technology.

"The technology existed before but to be commercially workable you had to go the extra mile. Before James Cameron, nobody was brave enough to take up the challenge," he said. "He changed all that.

"Now … everybody wants to see something in 3D."

The phone also includes 3D games. "Gaming is a big part of our usage when it comes to our mobiles," said Mr Paik. "I believe when it comes to 3D experiences, there will be a big shift from 2D to 3D in the gaming industry."

The South Korean technology giant is working with Etisalat to develop an application that would allow the UAE telecommunications company's eLife subscribers to access some content on their 3D phones, he said.

One Abu Dhabi shopper yesterday took a more sceptical approach. "It would be good for the first month, but I think I would get a headache after that," said Mohamad Fakhreddin.

"I don't think it's going to be a replacement of traditional [phones], but it will be another choice."

gduncan@thenational.ae