Projector Reviews

Pico Projectors – What are the Alternatives 2

Pico Projector Engines - Integrated into Portable Devices

Click Enlarge. So Close.Now here is where I see the real future of pico projectors. The applications are numerous, and the solutions make sense. Of course, brighter projections and better color will still be areas where improvement is needed, but consider the devices that could have a built in projector:

  • Cell phones
  • Music/video players
  • Commerical portable gear (now that covers thousands of assorted devices, from test equipment to heads up displays)
  • Camcorders – (how cool, take some videos and then watch them on the wall, instead of on the little 3 inch screen)
  • Portable game machines
  • Laptops, netbooks and tablet PCs
  • Things not yet invented
Click Image to Enlarge

There are already cell phones (none sold in the US) with built in pico projectors, including brands like S. Korea’s Samsung and Japan’s NTT Docomo. I’m trying to get one in to look at. And wouldn’t it be fun to be able to project your game on a Sony PSP, Nintendo DS type machine onto a wall so others can watch your play? Even the classic portable DVD player, could opt for a smaller screen and have an integrated projector to do a 10 or 20 inch image.

Humor me, as I take a possible look 2-4 years into the future. I don’t know if all this technology is viable, but wouldn’t be nice:

Consider, pico projectors can be powered by an LED or laser light source. Now imagine an iPhone type device (or an iPhone – which is probably the projector engine manufacturers dream deal), equipped with a laser based pico projector. Now let’s split the laser for multiple simultaneous functions:

One beam can be used to project the image onto a screen or wall, a second beam could be used to project a full sized keyboard, and a third beam to scan that “keyboard” area for “interference” caused by fingers passing through the virtual keyboard. All of a sudden, the iPhone – already as powerful as many laptops, now has a full sized keyboard, and an 8 to 30 inch projected image (with decent brightness).

Which means – who needs a traditional laptop anymore?

It’s no wonder some of the industry forecasters are projecting total pico sales (pico projectors and pico projector engines that will go inside other devices) of 15 million units or more in 2012, just three years off.