L'Ombre de l'Olivier

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15 September 2008 Blog Home : September 2008 : Permalink

Is That a Projector in Your Pocket?

3M have announced the imminent arrival of their pocket sized video projector device, which is due to ship in October. Not only is the device small but it is also distinctly affordable with a US retail price of $359. It isn't perfect of course. The popsci article linked to above reports that:

Images were discernable up to about 11 inches across, even under our bright fluorescent office lights. But they were definitely faded. And some movie scenes were downright indecipherable. The same went for photos. I’m pretty sure the prototype 3M loaned me at CES in January was brighter as I was able to demonstrate it during a presentation under bright lights to a few hundred people. But I’ll have to do more tests to know for sure. (Even if it’s less than ideal, kudos to 3M for making it work.)

In a dark room, it could project a big enough image to be the ultimate cheap-o home theater.

However not only is it good enough it also uses very simple standard technology (LED lamp, LCoS screen) implying that in a few years this will be available from disreputable Chinese manufacturers for $100 or less.

Amusingly it seems that one reason why they announced the product now as opposed to in a couple of weeks is that 3M Germany jumped the gun with this press-release. The release doesn't add anything much to the review above beyond giving the dimensions (11,5 x 5 x 2,2 cm) and the fact that it can run for an hour on its battery. Oh it does add one other detail:

Der voraussichtliche empfohlene Verkaufspreis wird zwischen 349,00 Euro und 398,00 Euro liegen.

The anticipated recommended sales price will be between €349 and €398.

Since €1 = US$1.4 that is quite a difference from the US price even when you deduct the 19% VAT charged on stuff in Germany as the German asking price translates to between US$489 and US$557! Definitely something to get an American to buy I think.