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Nokia 3D phone in development, new patent hints

Nokia has filed a patent suggesting it may be ready to build a 3D-capable mobile device. The gadget is reminiscent of the Nintendo 3DS, but with a novel eye-tracking system.

Nokia may be building a dual-screen mobile device capable of delivering 3D video. A patent application for 'Autostereoscopic Rendering and Display Apparatus' suggests a gadget reminiscent of the Nintendo 3DS in form and function, Tom's Guide reports.

What's different is that the system would track the user's position and eye level in relation to the screen, changing the display accordingly.

The upper screen would display three-dimensional graphics, with the image changing in relation to the user's position. This might solve some of the current problems with glasses-free 3D displays, namely that you have to sit right in front of them and keep your head still to avoid losing the effect.

The lower screen could show related 2D imagery such as shadows. These would be rendered based on the user's eye level, giving a more realistic result.

Tracking the user's movements shouldn't be particularly difficult but it could sap the device's processing power.

We don't know how far advanced Nokia's implementation is. It's one thing to file a patent and another to launch something that works. What seems clear is that this project is distinct from Nokia's relationship with Microsoft. A second rumour of little surprise is that Nokia will develop a Windows 8 tablet within the next two years.

Nokia really needs to pull something out of the bag. In fact, it would do well to pull out a lot of decent stuff. Everyone is challenging it for market dominance, with Samsung, Apple and anything with Android inside clamouring to be top dog.

Despite the success of the 3DS, the snazzy LG Optimus 3D and rumours of a 3D iPad, it's quite a risky road to take. If Nokia wants to remain dominant, meeting its reported desire of over one-fifth of the smart phone market and one-quarter of the overall mobile market, it needs an awful lot of great normal phones, too. Where's that portfolio, Mr Elop?