Ask people why they don't watch video on their mobile phones and most will cite the small screen size as a major drawback. Texas Instruments hopes to solve the problem by letting mobile users project images from their wireless device onto a screen or a handy wall.
Making good on promises the chipmaker made earlier this year, TI used the CTIA Wireless 2007 show this week in Orlando to publicly demo its "pico-projector" prototype for the first time. A tiny version of its DLP image projection technology, the pico-projector is small enough to fit inside a cell phone. The device builds on TI's existing efforts in mobile projection technology, culminating in the 2006 introduction of DLP-based pocket projectors from Mitsubishi, Samsung, and Toshiba.
"Over the next few years, we envision a large opportunity for the convergence of projection technology and mobile devices, like cell phones," TI's Worldwide Strategic Marketing and Business Development Manager for DLP Front Projection Frank Moizio, said in a prepared statement.
Unlike existing DLP-based pocket projectors, which rely on an LED light source, CNET reports that the pico-projector device incorporates three lasers, along with a DLP chip and a power supply. Housed in a nonfunctioning cell phone for this demonstration, the projector itself measures about 1.5 inches in length. TI officials claim the device provides DVD-quality video, and the projection technology allows an effective screen size that far surpasses even the largest cell phone displays.
A variety of mobile devices could ultimately incorporate cell-sized projectors, including digital cameras and camcorders, as well as portable video players. TI has not announced availability or pricing for the pico-projector.