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Pocket-sized gadgets get picture projection power

The 3M mobile projection engine, housed in a mobile phone-type shell, projects a video on a wall at the 3M display booth at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, 07 January 2008. The 3M mobile projection engine can be installed in mobile phones, laptop computer or other devices to project still images or videos. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Las Vegas, Nevada (AFP) Jan 8, 2008
Mobile phones that project video and GPS devices that display maps on anything from table tops to walls are some of the products showcasing hot new projection technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

Exhibitors at the world's largest consumer electronics trade show are showing off matchbox-sized gizmos that can turn mobile telephones, MP3 players, and handheld GPS navigation devices into picture and video projectors.

"It can be used when you want to share images or video with more than one person who wants to see it," Greg Roberts of 3M corporation said.

"It's cool. Young people will love it."

With the small gadgets, which attach to handheld devices, one can project digital television shows or videos from the Internet onto walls to share with friends, or do the same with advertising, multi-media work presentations or sales pitches.

The technology is expected to be available in the market in the coming months at reasonable prices, because it is made from a blend of existing technologies, according to Roberts.

The 3M version of the gadget combines a luminous diode LED and a liquid crystal display to project light through a lens.

Electronics makers Microvision and Light Blue Optics are also developing their own versions of the projection technology.

Microvision, which works with device-makers such as Motorola, boasts that its PicoP system can turn laptop computers, digital cameras, video-enabled MP3 players and mobile telephones into large-image projectors.

Britain-based Light Blue Optics, created in 2004, and which just raised 26 million dollars in investment capital, is creating miniature projectors using laser beams that keep images clear no matter how far the impromptu screens.

In a demonstration of the technology at the CES, Sony Walkman displayed rich, crisp images on a white table top.

Analysts expect the mini-projector market will explode in the coming four years.

"Such display solutions not only offer a larger viewing area, but also lower costs, decreased power consumption and reduced weight and size," said Jennifer Colegrove, a senior analyst at technology tracker iSuppli Corp.

ISuppli expects annual sales of pocket projectors of pocket to reach 1.7 million units by 2012.

A recent forecast by display market research firm Pacific Media Associates was more optimistic, contending sales of pocket projectors and other miniature "low power and low cost" projection devices will climb to 6.5 million by 2011.

These devices include stand-alone mini-projectors, embedded mini-projector modules for mobile and large devices, and mini-projectors in toys and video game systems.

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In world of convergence, mini-TVs get legs
Las Vegas, Nevada (AFP) Jan 8, 2008
In the world of multifunctional electronics, mini-TV sets are getting new life in smart devices being developed that make video mobile.

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