SAN FRANCISCOPico projectors embedded into products such as smartphones are set to experience a sixtyfold growth in shipments during the next four years, according to a forecast by market research firm iSuppli Corp.
Shipments of embedded pico projectors will rise to more than 3 million units in 2013, up from less than 50,000 units this year, iSuppli (El Sequndo, Calif.) predicted. The firm defines pico projectors as front projectors weighing less than 2 pounds and sized at less than 60 cubic inches without a battery pack.
The capability of picoprojectors to overcome screen-size limitations in mobile electronics devices, projecting a large image despite their small size, makes embedded pico projectors a perfect fit for space-constrained mobile devices, according to iSuppli.
"Mobile electronic devices offer consumers and corporate users the portability they desire, causing an increasing number of users to employ products like smart phones and netbook PCs as their primary platforms for computing and Internet access," said Sanju Khatri, iSuppli principal analyst for signage/projection, in a statement.
"However, a major obstacle blocking the use of mobile devices in this fashion has been their tiny displays relative to desktop PCs," Khatri said. "Embedded pico projectors promise to enlarge these displays, making mobile devices more capable as primary computing and Internet-access platforms."
Pico projectors are likely to find initial acceptance in the corporate market, allowing businesspeople to make presentations directly from their mobile PCs, smart phones or PDAs, according to iSuppli. But the devices also have a strong allure to consumers, allowing large-sized display of video, Internet sites and applications, according to the firm.
Smartphones represent a promising market for embedded pico projectors, iSuppli said, noting that Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. unveiled a smartphone with a pico projector, dubbed "The Show," at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Other smart phones equipped with pico-projectors are likely to be introduced soon, iSuppli said.
The Samsung phone uses Texas Instruments Inc.'s Digital Light Processing (DLP) projection technology. Besides DLP and other MEMS display technologies, liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) technology shows equally strong promise in the embedded pico projector market, according to iSuppli.
Despite the rapid projected growth for embedded pico projectors, iSuppli said they will still account for only a small fraction of overall mobile device shipments through 2013.
"The growth potential for embedded pico projectors will be limited during the next few years due to challenges in areas including power consumption, size and manufacturing," Khatri said. "As these issues are resolved, pico projectors will appear in many more mobile electronics devices."