Oh Yes, Microvision Stuffed a Laser Projector Into an Android Handset

For some reason, I have a silly infatuation with projector phones, even though no phone makers have attempted to put one into a modern smartphone handset.

At a pre-CES event Wednesday, pico projector maker Microvision was hoping to plant the idea in manufacturers’ heads. They’ve cobbled together a prototype Android “tablet” — a phone, really, minus the phone guts — with a laser projector. The device is unlikely to be released as it appeared at the show, but it served its purpose of throwing videos and photos onto a wall in a well-lit room.

The projector phone is a bit chunky, measuring 0.67 inches thick, and when I picked it up, it was warm to the touch. When the projector is running, the device lasts for about two hours.

Bulk and power consumption aside, Microvision’s biggest hurdle is price. The company won’t say how much it expects to charge manufacturers for its embedded projectors, but Microvision’s standalone ShowWX projector costs $400 at retail. My guess is that we’re still a couple years away from seeing laser projection as a feature in any widely-available smartphones. I wonder if Android will still be the reference device du jour then.


5 comments

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  1. Terri January 6, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    How cool would it be to be able to project the latest YouTube video from my phone! No more straining my eyes trying to look at things on my phone screen. I wonder who will be the first to release it to the mainstream? I want it!

  2. Dave January 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Please do your research. We're definitely NOT two years away from a projector phone. This current prototype uses a special bulky type of frequency-doubled green laser, which also has poor power-efficiency. Direct, or native green laser diodes are expected shortly in massive volumes, which will also cut the whole projection module size in half. That's right, in half.

  3. alex January 6, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    How's that laser safety stuff working out for you Dave?

  4. Curt January 6, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    Is that the best fear mongering you can do Alex? Really? How many laser injuries do we hear about from existing laser devices… that's right, not much if any. But, if you're an idiot enough to try and stare (forcing your eye open) long enough even a Class II laser will damage your eye. But for most humans, your reflexes will force you to close your eyes to avoid any damange.

  5. Adam Tablet News January 7, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    reminds me of the mozilla concept phone…but less sexy.