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.