Image: Acer 3-D laptop
Acer
Acer's 3-D laptop comes with special software for three-dimensional effects for movies. Most games will display in 3-D, even though they're designed for regular screens.
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updated 10/21/2009 6:14:06 PM ET 2009-10-21T22:14:06

With the launch of Windows 7 this week, PC makers are trying some new things, including laptops with touch screens. Acer Inc. is going further — introducing a laptop with a 3-D screen.

The abstrusely named Acer Aspire 5738DG-6165 has a 15.6-inch screen that, with the help of special glasses, appears to take on depth if used with the right games or movies.

It's not the first laptop with a 3-D screen. Sharp introduced one in 2003. It worked without glasses, but the viewer had to be somewhat careful to keep his head in the right place for the 3-D effect to work. The screen worked similarly to 3-D postcards — the kind with the ribbed plastic layer — but looked more convincing. Like Acer's model, the 3-D effect could be turned off with a button.

Sharp's model cost $3,300 and was aimed at engineers and other professionals who might be helped by being able to show objects in 3-D. Acer's laptop costs just $780, barely more than a comparable, normal laptop.

Windows 7 doesn't have special features for 3-D screens, so Acer will ship the computer with special movie player software. Finding movies to play on it won't be easy, however — there's no real consumer distribution system for the new 3-D movies that are shown in theaters, such as "Aliens vs. Monsters."

For computer games, it's another matter. Most games will display in 3-D, even though they're designed for regular screens.

On desktop computers, 3-D with glasses has been possible for years, if somewhat costly. Nvidia, a leading maker of graphics cards, sells a $200 3-D kit.

TV manufacturers are also excited about 3-D, and are trying to create discs and players that can bring 3-D movies into the living room.

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