Himax has announced that it has the world's first USB 3.0 pico-projector (PDF) solution. Sadly, Himax offered no official pics of the thing for us to check out. The new projector has a resolution of 800 x 600 and uses a LCOS microdisplay from Himax Display. The projector gets all the power it needs directly from the USB port of a computer.
We're used to pico-projectors being small in the pocket but heavy on the wallet, but the PP003 actually manages to slip in under the all-important $100 mark. Up at $99.99 on Amazon, the downside is a mere QVGA resolution, though you do at least get an onboard media player with memory card slot, AV input and USB Host functionality.
The market for iPhone accessories is huge, but it's also 99-percent full of nasty cases we wouldn't want anywhere near our shiny Apple hardware. However, glancing through iLounge's preview of 2011 products and two stand out: the provisionally-titled Scosche iClops webcam, which gives camera-free iOS devices a 2.1-megapixel CMOS of their own, and the Optoma Neo-i pico-projector iPhone dock.
Acer has played with pico-projectors before - their K10 came out all the way back in 2008 - but the Acer C20 seems to be taking things a lot more seriously. The smartphone-sized pico hooks up via USB or HDMI and promises a WVGA resolution picture of up to 66-inches with 2,000:1 contrast and 20 lumens brightness.
Flip Video's other notable partnership in the new Designed for Flip accessory program is iGo, who have put together a pico-projector for the company's UltraHD and MinoHD camcorders. Unlike the Mikey for Flip, which physically snaps onto the bottom of your Flip, the iGo Portable Projector uses an adapter cable; it also has regular A/V, composite video, stereo audio, mini HDMI, VGA and microUSB inputs.
It's been a long time since we've heard from Explay about their super-small Colibri pico-projector module, but the company has piped up again with the latest unit. The new laser pico module supports WVGA 852 x 480 resolution, 14 lumens brightness and up to 70-inch projections, and will apparently begin showing up in commercial products come February 2011.
Ordro isn't a well-known brand for camcorders around these parts, but the company's new HDV-D350S is looking to grab some headlines by virtue of its integrated pico-projector. The D350S records up to 60fps 1440 x 1080 video or 12-megapixel stills, but also has a removable pico-projector attachment that slots onto a mount on the top of the camera; that can project up to a 60-inch WVGA picture.
Amazon has begun taking preorders for the Samsung SP-H03 palm-sized pico projector, though currently there's no estimated shipping date. Priced at $299, the SP-H03 runs at WVGA (854 x 480) resolution and has a 1,000:1 contrast ratio - decent for a pico - together with 30 Lumens brightness.
The tablet market is gradually growing, but if DigiLife have their way it'll go hand in hand with pico-projectors. Charbax over at ARMDevices has been prowling the Computex floor, and has come up with the DigiLife iOne, a 10-inch capacitive touchscreen Android tablet that also has an integrated VGA-resolution pico-projector.
Video demo after the cut
It's 3D all round with pico-projectors these days, as the companies behind the pocketable display devices try to catch a hold of the 3D gravy-train. Sydiant have taken the easy route for their SID 2010 demonstration this week, taping two regular pico's together with a polarizing film in each; viewers wearing standard 3D glasses see the projected image in three dimensions. Meanwhile, Aiptek have confirmed that they're planning both glasses and glasses-free pico-projectors for launch over the next couple of years.
BeamBox have announced their latest pico-projector, and while we're still waiting for the company's MiLi Evolution iPhone-case-cum-projector to arrive, the Evolution R-2 should tide us over. Based around a 40 lumen LCoS chip, making it one of the brighter picos we've seen, the R-2 has an integrated media player for photos, audio and video (like the Evolution R-1 we reviewed last year) together with both PC/Mac and A/V inputs.