Pocket projectors let you show your videos anywhere

Media players are small -- that is good, because they're mobile. Media players are small -- that's bad, because try to watch a video with anybody else, and you're going to run into intimacy problems.

 At the the CES Unveiled@NY Showcase last night (where a number of vendors showed off new and upcoming products), there were at least two vendors who were hoping to solve that problem with portable LED projectors.

These tiny projectors are fascinating to those of us who can remember when a "small" digital projector meant something about the dimensions of a sewing machine. The idea is that folks who carry around media players might like to show off their images and videos -- but want to do it with something light enough to carry around without having to think about it.

Optoma Pico PK-101

Optoma was showing its Pico PK-101 ($400), while 3M was exhibiting the MPro110 ($359). Both of these pocketable LED projectors are lightweight (the PK-101 weighs 4 ounces while the MPro tips the scales at half a pound) and have rechargeable batteries that should last approximately an hour, more or less. Both also have brightness levels of about 10 lumens -- which means you're not going to see much in a bright room. This proved to be a problem for both vendors, since the level of illumination in the brightly-lit showroom washed out almost anything they could show.

You're not going to hear much either -- the MPro110 doesn't have its own speaker; while the PC-101 comes with a 0.5-watt speaker, it was barely audible (admittedly, the room was noisy, but I held the unit up pretty close to my ear).

In a dark room, however, you can pull one of these devices out of your pocket, plug your iPod or other media player, plug in a pair of speakers, and have an impromptu video showing on a nearby wall -- without having to squint at a tiny screen. This could be a definite advantage.

Computerworld reviewer Brian Nadel is testing both of these products for an upcoming product roundup -- stay tuned.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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