Hasbro is betting that iPod and iPhone users want 3-D viewing on the go.
The nation's second-largest toy maker is set to unveil to investors on Tuesday a handheld device called My3D that attaches to the two Apple devices. It promises three-dimensional content that offers a 360-degree experience in gaming, virtual travel experiences and entertainment content. It's aimed at both children and adults.
The device, which resembles a pair of binoculars with a slot in which users insert their iPod or iPhone, will be priced at $30. It will be available starting next spring at stores where Apple's iPhones and iPod Touches are available.
Shoppers can then visit Apple's App store, which will allow shoppers to browse for additional My 3D content. Content varies in price; some apps will be free.
Hasbro said it was guided by Apple during development and believes there's nothing available that matches the quality and 3-D experience on the iPhone or iPod Touch.
If it catches on, it has big potential. More than 125 million iPod Touches and iPhones have shipped, according to Shaw Wu, senior research analyst at Kaufman Bros. L.P. He predicts that will hit 200 million by end of 2011.
"The issue with this is whether they are going to get enough content for it," Wu said.
Hasbro is confident it will and says it has teamed up with Dreamworks Animation, whose movie "Megamind" hit theaters last weekend, to develop material.
Separately, Hasbro's My3D will use content from a 3-D television network from Discovery , Sony and Imaxscheduled to make its debut next year. Viewers will be able to see trailers and exclusive behind-the-scenes snippets from films for up to 20 minutes. Hasbro says the device will be a key way to market its own brands in a 3-D experience, though details haven't been set.
Meanwhile, Hasbro worked with LA Inc., the Los Angeles Convention and Vistors Bureau, to create virtual travel experiences that include visits to the Wax Museum and the Santa Monica Pier.
Through other apps, users can feel like they're immersed in deep water, exploring coral reefs or playing a shark attacking a tuna, while all along learning facts about sea life. There are also shooter games in a virtual galaxy.
"The idea of being able to be somewhere in Los Angeles, in this 360-degree environment, to be in the shark tank, to be able to swim with the fish and chase after the fish. These are really breakthrough immersive experiences," said Brian Goldner, president and CEO of Hasbro.