Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pico Pocket Projectors
Projectors have become essential business tools; at just about every meeting there's a projector attached to a laptop displaying spreadsheets or presentations. At home, a projector can replace an LCD TV or Plasma TV by filling a wall with a movie, console game, or YouTube video.
There's a new class of projector emerging that fits in the palm of your hand. Some of these are being built into phones and it wouldn't surprise us to see them appear in HD camcorders and digital cameras. Called handheld or pico projectors, these tiny devices can be used for business or personal entertainment.
There are still very few of these devices that you can actually buy today but you should see more become available as this hot product category grows. Here's a rundown of some of the latest of these little gems:
Microvision hopes to see its laser-based pico projectors in everything from cell phones to laptops. Their SHOWWX projector has been shown at trade shows filling a large screen with a fairly good quality image. Early adopters should expect to pay around $400 - $500 for these when they go on sale.
3M Micro Professional Projector MPro110
The 3M Micro Professional Projector MPro110 weighs 5.6 ounces and can display a 50 inch image using LED LCoS technology. Though the picture is not as high quality as a 50" Plasma TV, this pico projector has been on the market over 6 months and costs $359.
Optomo's PK101 pico pocket projector uses DLP technology with an LED light source. It weighs 4 ounces and can project an image up to 60 inches. It costs around $400.
AAXA Technologies P1 Projector
AAXA Technologies sells their P1 Projector for an MSRP of $259. It has an SD card slot, built-in speaker and uses LED LCoS technology.
The Samsung MBP-200 is an updated version of the MBP-100. It uses DLP Pico technology to display an image up to 50 inches. It includes a microSd card slot, headphone jack, and 2.2 inch screen. A possible alternative to Samsung TVs.
News on this stylish pico projector has been sparse since its announcement at CES in January 2009. Reports indicated it could shed 10 lumens of light on a WVGA (848 X 480 pixel) image.
Aiptek Pocket Cinema V10
You can actually buy this LCoS pico projector based on 3M technology. It has been on the market for over a year and sells for $285. It only gets a 3 out of 5 rating on amazon.com but it will project a 42 inch, 640 X 480 image and includes an SDHC card slot.
This projector is powered by the 3M optical engine that will display a 50 inch VGA (640 X 480) image. It includes a 3.5 mm audio jack and a built-in volume switch. They claim 80 minutes of use on a charge. The projector is innovating like many of the Toshiba TVs out in the market.
Pico Projectors in Cell Phones
If Texas Instruments has any say in the matter, every cell phone will have a built-in projector. TI unveiled its latest generation OMAP chip set at Mobile World Congress 2009. The OMAP 4 claims to be three times faster than its predecessor which will enable mobile devices to project images faster as well as record video and play it back at high rates. TI's chip set has powered mobile devices like Samsung's recently launched phone (available in South Korea). The phone can beam video or photographs from the phone to a flat surface.
Projectors Built In to Eyeglasses
An Israeli company named Lumus has developed eyewear that uses LOE (light guide optical element) to make a pair of glasses that you can see through as well as view an image on. A tiny projector located inthe temple of the glasses spreads an image across the lens using light guide technology. If it works as well as they say it does it could be a good alternative to bulky goggles that you can't see through when they're off.