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Is 3D merely a gimmick?

Rumour has it that Amazon is going to roll out a branded phone with a 3D screen. If true, it will grab attention upon arrival and reporters and analysts will gush over how it is the future (or how it is not the future). In the meantime, people will turn off the 3D features.

Small 3D screens have been around for a while. I first saw one more than a decade ago. Then I revisited them when Fujifilm came out with a cute little 3D digital camera. The screen had improved substantially and was now a primetime product.

Next came the Nintendo 3DS, a great little handheld gaming device with a kind of variable 3D. It was when this product arrived that it became possible to study mainstream habits. It turned out that 3D was largely a novelty. People liked playing with the effect but soon got tired of it and turned it off.

Most of the large LCD TV sets now have 3D capability in one form or another yet nobody cares to watch much in 3D. It has always been a gimmick, I’m sorry to say. And we can never forget that a large segment of the population cannot deal with this sort of non-reality 3D. Some people's brains will not accept the illusion. Others get headaches. Still more do not like it for reasons known only to them.

I have always been sceptical of the technology but I'm not sure I've ever made one thing clear: I love 3D. I first encountered it as a little kid in a cinema in Chicago. It was great. And back then 3D was fantastic because the action in films inevitably had something – an arrow, a cannonball, a spear, something – fly into the audience. You'd have to duck and this was entertainment as far as I was concerned.

Disney took 3D to another level at its theme parks with wide aspect 3D. It produced an image that would come out into the audience, stop inches in front of you, and stay there to be examined. This was the way to go as far as I was concerned. I think the movie industry thought it was a gimmick to be avoided. Such a shame.

I believe I am in the minority when it comes to 3D. The public is simply not as fascinated by it as I am. I assume there are others like me in Hollywood who find 3D to be a fun way to present a story, but they are also in the minority.

I have always tried to be objective when discussing 3D and its cyclical nature, but I was talking more than listening because every time I'd bring it up I'd hear "who needs it?" or "it's a gimmick."

The 3D diehards ignore this and say that it's not 3D that people reject, but the glasses. If there were no glasses, people would want it. I'm not so sure about that.

I'm guessing that if Amazon is developing a phone with a 3D screen, then Jeff Bezos is in this little club of 3D fans and will personally think the screen is cool. Maybe I'll get one of these phones too. It would be the last tribute to a technology that cannot turn the corner.