Are pico projectors the next big mobile phone trend?

Large flat-screen TVs were all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show, but companies like Microvision Inc are putting their bets on image viewing of a much smaller scale: projections from devices as tiny as cellphones.

While commercial products with so-called pico projectors are still relatively rare, Microvision and rivals such as Texas Instruments Inc and 3M Co were promising strong prospects for pico at the Las Vegas show which ends on Sunday.



Microvision showed off a stand-alone projector that looked like a big bar of soap and projected crisp video images using laser technology. Its big hope is to embed the technology in a range of consumer electronics including cameras and phones.



"My feeling is that ultimately the phone is the largest opportunity," Microvision's director of communications Matt Nichols said, adding that his company was talking to dozens of potential customers including phone makers.



Nichols sees the first prototypes of gadgets with embedded Microvision pico projectors later this year, and expects the first commercial products some time next year.



After that, he expects the market to explode -- in the same way that cameras have quickly become a must-have component in mobile phones.



"We believe that in a five-year forecast, your phones will all have projectors," Nichols told Reuters.



Texas Instruments, a major supplier of application chips for phones, has its pico projectors embedded in several commercial devices including dedicated mini-projectors and two phones from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the latest of which was demonstrated at CES.



"Everybody is just completely jazzed about" pico projectors, said Frank Moizio, manager for Texas Instruments' pico business. "I don't know what that translates into in volume. We hope it will be high."



Since phones already have so many bells and whistles, such as multitouch screens, cameras and music and video players, some analysts question how much room there is to add more components.



But Ovum's Jonathan Yarmis says pico technology has a huge potential because it solves the problem of video viewing on tiny cellphone screens.



"When you liberate the display from the device, you've the opportunity to make the experience more immersive," the analyst said when asked about the next big mobile phone trends.



Others like wireless industry consultant Cheetan Sharma see the mini-projectors turning up in cameras, allowing photographers to share snapshots, before becoming popular in mobile phones.



"I think the camera is the first thing and then of course it will migrate to smartphones," Sharma said, adding that electronics makers also expect demand for pico projectors in laptops for business travelers. "Some people are looking to integrate it into a laptop so they can do presentations."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Field Engineer

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has 30 years of ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Account Manager

    £27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...

    Recruitment Genius: Front End Web Developer - Magento

    £28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

    SThree: IT Recruitment Consultant

    £22500 - £30000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking for experie...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?