Yes, Virginia, Toshiba Will Use the AUO Head-tracking Display

Let’s recap. At Display Taiwan last month AUO showed an extremely impressive 15.6-inch 2D/3D switchable head-tracking autostereoscopic (AS) display. (See the forthcoming issue of Mobile Display Report for a detailed description.) Senior engineer Garfy Lin told me the panel should appear in a notebook PC from a major manufacturer in Q3.

A week later in New York, Toshiba announced that in August it will introduce a notebook PC with AS-3D eye-tracking display. Product Manager Carrie Cowan said the panel is not from AUO. I was skeptical. How many 15.6-inch eye-tracking displays are likely to be introduced in a notebook from a major manufacturer in Q3?

When in doubt, be skeptical. Industry sources have now told Rebecca Kuo and Adam Hwang of Digitimes that Toshiba will be using the AUO display, and that the notebook will have an MSRP of about US $2100. The sources also said that some vendors of tablet PCs also intend to adopt head-tracking 2D/3D panels.

AS-3D eye-tracking display

While we’re on the subject of 3D, the Big 5 panel makers - Samsung, LG Display (LGD), AUO, Chimei Innolux (CMI), and Sharp - have been increasing shipments of 3D panels for television and expect market penetration to reach between 10% and 20% by the end of the year. Projections differ by manufacturer, report Digitimes’ Rebecca Kuo and Jackie Chang. CMI thinks the number is 20%; AUO 10%, and the other manufacturers spread out in between those extremes. LGD (of course) and AUO are the primary suppliers of micropolarizer panels (the kind that use passive glasses), while Samsung and CMI are producing the panels for systems that use shutter glasses (SG).

Does that mean that 10 to 20% of TV-watching hours will be spent on 3D content? Of course not. Panel-makers and set-makers now recognize that 3D viewing will be mostly for special events such as ball games and movies. Is anybody going to put on their 3D spectacles in the morning to watch Matt Lauer while they dress for work?

Frankly, I’m far more interested in what AUO and Toshiba are doing with the AS-3D head-tracking notebook PC. It will be very entertaining to see what uses software developers and users come up with when they have a really good AS-3D platform to play with.

By Ken Werner, Display Daily