CTIA: James Cameron Sees 3D Explosion

LAS VEGAS ( TheStreet) -- In his keynote speech on the final day of CTIA, Avatar director James Cameron trumpeted 3D as the next big frontier in consumer technology.

Addressing an audience of techies and telecom executives during his panel discussion, he said, "Think about putting this stuff into your apps, because it's coming. It's coming faster than even we thought, and we were the proselytizers, the evangelists, for this."
 James Cameron at CTIA
Film director James Cameron speaks at CTIA.

Fresh from his success with Avatar, the biggest-grossing movie of all time, Cameron foresees a world where 3D is widely deployed on a range of devices. The director is also a champion of stereoscopic 3D, which was used in the making of Avatar and helped it to bring in more than $2.6 billion worldwide.

"I think we're going to see stereo scopic 3D ubiquity in five years," he explained, adding that smaller screens will not require 3D glasses. "I think it will percolate to handhelds and laptop devices -- this is where the big breakthrough is going to be in the next few years."

With telecom giants such as Sprint ( S), Verizon ( VZ), and AT&T ( T) pushing towards next-generation networks, Cameron acknowledged that 4G will be key to providing 3D services, but warned that there is still plenty of work to do.

"We don't have 3D laptops, we don't have 3D camcorders," he said, adding that 3D cameras are still not widely available. "Everyone wants to do sports in 3D, but there aren't the thousands of cameras and trained crews needed ."

Some manufacturers like Fuji and Samsung have already launched 3D digital cameras, and chipmaker Nvidia ( NVDA) touts software and glasses for upgrading computers to stereoscopic 3D. Still, 3D has hardly dented the broader consumer market.

Cameron, who shared a stage with Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra and Twitter founder Biz Stone, also explained that 3D will have major implications in the advertising and education sectors.

The filmmaker also got the biggest laugh of the day when he described the recent Academy Awards, where The Hurt Locker beat out Avatar to win best picture.

"If I had to choose between the trophy and the $2.6 billion, I would go for the $2.6 billion," he quipped.

-- Reported by James Rogers in Las Vegas

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