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Pico Projectors at CES - and Pico Projector Cameras and...

Very cool! Last night I attended the Digital Experience (the major Press only event) at the CES Show, and pico projectors and pico projector containing devices were in abundance.  More than 100 vendors were showing off their technology, mostly at small 10x6 foot table top booths.  I liked the pico projector cameras and camcorders I saw.  Not bad!

The folks, I think, had way more than a dozen different pico projectors and other devices with on board projectors, from all kinds of major players.   Among the small devices at the (Texas Instuments) table, the largest was the new Optoma Neo-i, which I will have for review as soon as they become available (UPDATE: now published, click for review).  The Neo-i is another small device - about 2.5 pounds around a foot long, somewhat oval, that you can hook up to your smartphone, iphone, iPad (yes, iPad).  It has built in speakers, (looks like a lot of iPhone home systems, such as those from iHome, but the Neo-i is unique in that it has a built in projector. Bingo, project those music videos while getting some pretty decent sound from a small, dare I define  it  as a- boombox.

But what impressed me were camcorders and cameras with built in projectors.    BTW there were a bunch of 3D camcorders (all price ranges), and I was hoping to see one with a built in 3D pico projection setup, but, I didn't see one (yet).  I counted at least 4 cameras and camcorders with pico projectors inside.  Oh yeah, there were a few phones too.  Remember this is just a large press show, there are probably 10 projectors on the show floor for everyone at this event.  One thing that was nice.  The folks I spoke to were trying their best to throw these pico projector camcorders, projectors and cameras at me.  Everyone's attitude, was - how fast can we get you a review unit (that is, after most start shipping)... Individual companies were showing theirs, such as 3M, with what has to be considered one of the most "serious" pico projectors, the MPro180, in terms of being designed for business.  A lot longer than the competition (looks like the MPro150 we reviewed but at least 2 inches longer.  Why? Well it claims 32 lumens, AND that it can run a full two hours while doing so.  In addition it has something I haven't seen before in a pico  projector, which is direct support for powerpoint files, and another major, perhaps Word (I just don't remember at the moment).  It is also a WSVGA, not the more common widescreen (and lower res) WVGA.  3M's pico projector lineup also included a small white model, more traditionally sized and shaped, sporting 720p resolution.  That is probably a first, though there might be a few others doing the same, here at CES - the Consumer Electronics Show, for those not familiar. I'll report in more depth, and we'll start reviewing some of these new pico projectors, pretty much as soon as they start rolling in. We are going to increase our focus on pico projectors and, perhaps more importantly, some of the devices that have pico projectors in them.    I'm expecting Tony to review at least a half dozen in the next few months, and more than that by the time the summer Pico Projector report comes out. But, don't worry, the pico projector reviews, and reviews of pico camera projectors and pico camcorder projectors, etc. will post as soon as each is finished. My take is there is plenty to choose from if you want/need a pico projector.   I suspect that one more year will make another big difference, but this year's crop overall, looks really impressive from what I've seen. Samsung, of note, has several combined devices with pico projectors, and also a cute little cube of a projector (shown in white) that was probably not much bigger than 2 x 2 x 1.5 inches. Very cute, my complaint was no kensington lock. With one of those, or something else, that Samsung pico projector just might make an oversized keychain (no bigger than my wife's keychain.  (sorry guys, too bulky to attach to car keys - and put into a pants pocket. I'll provide a more in depth about the pico devices and projectors and which pico projectors and devices will be reviewed next, in just a few days. Hang in there - and - happy new year.  -art

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