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Sharp shows glasses-free 3D

Its prototype no-glasses-necessary 3D displays are smaller than Toshiba's TVs, but impressive, and could be practical for mobile gadgets.

Sharp's 3D mobile displays don't require glasses.
Sharp's 3D mobile displays don't require glasses. Erica Ogg/CNET

CHIBA, Japan--Toshiba showed us this week what 3D without glasses can look like on a laptop and a TV. But what about screens sized for mobile devices?

That's where Sharp comes in, and with a fairly impressive demo. The Japanese consumer electronics maker has two glasses-free 3D displays here at Ceatec, one measuring 3.8 inches and the other, 10.6. inches. Both are still prototypes--unlike Toshiba's 12- and 20-inch TVs scheduled to hit stores in Japan by the end of the year--but work remarkably well.

The 10.6-inch version had the clearest 3D effect, and a better viewing angle, but both required that you look pretty much straight on at the device and from close range. However because of their size, which are practical for a mobile phone and tablet or smaller laptop, respectively, it works.

Unfortunately, "3D LCD Module without Special Glasses" is even more awkward to say than Toshiba's "Glasses-less 3D TV." Since Sharp's isn't a final product yet, here's hoping its marketing department has something a little more catchy in mind should it ever decide to market the technology.