Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Projector and smartphone: a marriage made in heaven? Samsung intros the Galaxy Beam with built-in 50-inch projector.

Samsung introduced the projector-enabled "Galaxy Beam" at Mobile World Congress 2012. Should other smartphone vendors start working on a similar project?

I've had the opportunity to test several pico-projectors over the years including some projector handsets. So far, the real-world image quality and true usefulness of such devices has been limited, as have the number of SKUs and sales. A number of smaller Chinese handset vendors have introduced projector handsets during the past four years or so. And then, three years ago at CES 2009, Samsung became the first major handset vendor to introduce a projector phone. The announcement certainly got attention, but little real market interest.

Relevant component vendors such as TI and Microvision have been knocking on doors with their wares for years. But given battery-life and bill-of-material issues along with what appears to be limited consumer attention, most handset vendors appear to be taking a rather dim view about the short-term potential of projector phones.

But now as smartphone vendors are desperately seeking a WOW factor in this age of look-alike products, is it time for the projector phone market to shine?

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