Potentially paving the way for augmented reality, gaming and 3-D printing applications, Sony launched two new smartphones on Thursday that can capture 3-D.
The Japanese electronics giant’s latest devices launched into the increasingly competitive market are the 5.2-inch Xperia XZ1 and 4.6-inch XZ1 compact. Apple’s latest iPhone models are expected to come soon and these releases by Sony comes days ahead of that unveiling.
The ability to capture images in 3-D is the standout feature on the smartphone. The technology enables a person to take picture in 3D, a person’s head or a plate of food, for example, where a user simply opens the camera and can walk around the subject. A 3-D image that can be edited is then rendered by the software.
Sony’s augmented reality app can then be used by a user to place that 3-D image. Developers to create new applications for this are currently being looked for by the company. The ability to send the image to be 3-D printed could be one possibility.
Another key area is gaming. The company is “discussing possibilities” about how 3-D capture could be used in gaming, a Sony spokesperson said.
Chances of big business can be augmented reality, where digital images can be imposed onto the real world. Recently releasing a developer toolbox called ARKit, Apple is one company that has made itself a big player in the space. This allows AR apps to be created for the iPhone.
Also rivals in the AR space is Google’s Project Tango and its recently launched ARCore toolkit. In the near term, Sony could take advantage of the AR buzz.
“I think this fall AR is going to be enormous because of what Apple is doing with ARKit on the iPhone,” Ian Fogg, head of mobile at IHS, said.
“Sony has an enormous opportunity to ride on the back of Apple with 3-D capture and AR capabilities on their new smartphones because like Apple, they are using regular smartphone camera technology to do 3-D capture and augmented reality, which could be mainstream, scalable and quick to bring this to market.”
Carrying out a loss-making mobile business, Sony, the Japanese company has struggled for a long time. But driven by the company streamlining its portfolio of devices and focusing on some of the key markets, Sony’s mobile division returned to profit in its fiscal year ended March 31.
(Adapted from CNBC)