Coming with 3D: Smartphones from Sprint, AT&T

HTC Evo 3D arrives tomorrow; LG Thrill 4G to come this summer from AT&T

The HTC Evo 3D smartphone Glasses-free 3D smartphones are about to invade the U.S., with Sprint selling the HTC Evo 3D on Friday and AT&T confirming that sales of the LG Thrill 4G will begin sometime later this summer.

Sprint said on June 6 that its 3D entry will cost $199.99 (with a two-year service contract) starting June 24.

AT&T on Wednesday said it will have the LG Thrill available this summer, but didn't name a price or availability date.

An AT&T spokeswoman said in an interview that the LG Thrill will arrive "later this summer" and will be competitively priced. One person familiar with the pricing said it will sell for less than the HTC rival from Sprint.

The two phones are alike in 3D features, with some important differences.

Aside from boasting 3D viewing without needing glasses, both run on the fastest available networks from Sprint (with WiMax) and AT&T (HSPA+). Also, both have 4.3-in. touchscreens and dual rear-facing stereoscopic cameras to capture 3D video content.

Among their differences, the HTC Evo 3D will run Android 2.3, an advantage over the LG Thrill, which runs Android 2.2, but will later upgrade to Android 2.3.

The HTC Evo 3D has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, while the LG Thrill comes with a 1 GHz dual-core processor that features two channels to connect to the phone's dual memory to improve performance. (LG has created a video to explain the capability on the LG Optimus, which is the same device as the LG Thrill but under a different name. The Optimus went on sale in the U.K. this week. )

LG Thrill 3D smartphone.

Both 3D devices were shown in March at the CTIA trade show. Analysts said at the time that questions remained over how much demand there would be for a 3D experience on a small device. Many reviewers have called the 3D smartphone a novelty or a gimmick, but early Android adopters are expected to be especially keen on the device.

Gamers will be the prime audience, hoping to take advantage of the fast networks with complex games that sometimes operate in real-time between multiple players in different locations.

The LG Thrill 4G will come preloaded with a 3D button on the homescreen that allows access to 3D games, 3D movies and user-created 3D content. Rhe LG Thrill 4G on AT&T will also be preloaded with access to YouTube 3D for viewing and uploading 3D content.

Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of devices for AT&T, admitted that consumer demand for 3D is "relatively nascent" but added that the LG Thrill 4G "does 3D right and is also a superlative smartphone. " He noted that by having 3D cameras on a smartphone, user-generated content "has the power to shape the evolution of 3D."

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is .

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