A number of manufacturers exhibited ultra-small projectors at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), which took place in Hong Kong from April 13 to 16, 2009, hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
This trend reflects the fact that the advent of standardized optical components made it easier to develop ultra-small projectors.
Some projectors feature PC-equivalent capabilities to display document files, while others have a function to receive TV broadcasts intended for mobile devices. Exhibitors were striving to differentiate their products by including various capabilities in addition to the image projection function.
Equivalent to PC
Join Technology Ltd of Hong Kong showcased the "JP77," an ultra-small projector dubbed "Pocket Computer Projector." It features a processor with the 400MHz ARM9 core and Windows CE 5.0 as the operating system to provide PC-equivalent capabilities. Also, it has 64-Mbyte built-in flash memory and an SD memory card slot. The JP77 enables to browse and edit text files recorded on those storage media.
The projector is operated with the touch pad located on the upper surface of the chassis and the keyboard connected via a USB 1.1 interface. It uses LCOS display devices. The dimensions are 138.5 x 58.5 x 25.0mm. The continuous battery life is about four hours, and the OEM price is US$199.
Receiving TV broadcasts
Hong Kong-based WE3 Technology Co Ltd exhibited the "WE8626" ultra-small projector, which includes a capability to receive mobile TV broadcasts. It incorporated antenna modules for China's broadcasting standards, "CMMB (China multimedia mobile broadcasting)" and "DVB-TH."
"We will make the projector support (1seg) ISDB-T if requested by Japanese clients," WE3 said.
WE3 developed the TV antenna modules on its own, it said. Equipped with a multimedia processor supplied by Solomon Systech Ltd of Hong Kong, the projector can replay video and music recorded on an SD memory card as well as a slideshow of still images. It uses an LCOS display device and can run for more than one and a half hours when receiving TV broadcast. The OEM price is "less than $300," the company said.
Projector mobile phone
SCT Optronics Co Ltd of China presented its "LitPhone," a GSM mobile phone with a projector function. It is a touch panel device and features CMMB reception capability.
The LitPhone can display CMMB TV broadcasts, video recorded on a miniSD memory card and external content input through an audio-visual port using its projector function. It measures 122.4 x 59.2 x 21.1mm and weighs 190g. The OEM price is $250 for a bulk order of 1,000 units.
In addition to the LitPhone, SCT Optronics exhibited the "PCLit," an ultra-small projector that can output images sent from a PC via its USB interface. It has no battery as it is powered through the USB interface. It can also be used as a sub display for displaying different content from that being displayed on the PC monitor. SCT Optronics' projectors all employed LCOS display devices.