Projectors that make sense: Not quite yet

 

I have been following and babbling here and there about the development of these little pico or pocket projectors that are coming fairly quickly on to the market.

They interest me for a few reasons:

 

  • cheap
  • small, and therefore open to creativity
  • long-lasting

 

Engadget is reporting that Dell has now released one and it looks good on a  few counts, but it is still awfully limiting:

We’ve been waiting ever patiently for this to get official, and at long last, that Project Projector we saw leaked in July has been revealed. Formally christened the M109S, this 0.8-pound beamer arrives with a native 858 x 600 resolution, a projection distance of up to 94.5-inches and a mercury-free LED light source that lasts up to four years. Moreover, it packs the ability to suck power from a Latitude or Vostro AC adapter if you’re caught in a pinch, and yes, it’s available today for $499 in the United States. As for the rest of the world, you wait. 

The encouraging bit is that little LED bulb that has a four year life cycle (though there is that “up to” in there). That has been the biggest stumbling block with the deployment of projection systems in our weird little industry – bulbs that cost several hundred dollars and need to be replaced every few months, not years.

Right now the thing has the sort of brightness (555!!) that is only going to be useful in a pitch-black room, but that will change, you gotta think. CPUs got faster, flat panels got cheaper and these things will get brighter.

It’s a very long way to a projector that has an LED setup that pushes 1,500 or 2,500 lumens and could maybe drive a storefront window screen, but this is encouraging. 

The nearer term thing, with these little projectors, is when the resolution gets up a little better and the brightness is boosted, these could be cool little micro displays in dark places like clubs and cinemas.