CES 2011: Pico Projectors Get the Party Started
WowWee's Cinemin Slice pico projector.
At the last CES, pico projectors wowed audiences with their size and resolution but left people scratching their heads over what exactly to use them for. The products lined up for CES 2011 seem to answer that question, and the answer is, “PARTY!”
Manufactures concede pico projectors cannot replace televisions or conventional projectors , but you don’t need high-def imagery for music videos shown at a party, a slide show of family photos or Wii games projected onto the wall of a dorm room. This year, pico projectors have found a home in social situations where mobility trumps pixel density.
“It’s not about slide shows in the boardroom, it’s about guerrilla karaoke parties or social gaming ,” said Steve Hardy, the director of marketing at WowWee, maker of the Cinemin Slice pico projector. Pico projectors “are just not just for road warriors, and not a TV replacement.”
The Cinemin Slice, like many of the models that will be fighting for attention at Januaryâs International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, features an iPod/Pad/Phone dock to allow users to take advantage of the mobility of both the projector and the media device.
Optoma, a company whose pico projector offerings traditionally focus on business presentations, has also introduced a model with an iPod dock. Unlike its other projectors, which prioritize memory space and small size, the new iPod-friendly device was designed by Optoma as a mobile media center, with built-in speakers and a sturdier frame.
“This is more for moving the product around in the household,” said Walter Marshall, product manager at Optoma. “If you’re having a party, you can create a big image in any room.”
Marshall said Optoma thought of a dorm room as the natural place for this projector, and it certainly did appear more likely to survive a beer-pong mishap than Optoma’s gracile business projectors.
No company has yet unveiled a killer app for pico projectors, leaving the class of device somewhat without a purpose. But if the upcoming CES offerings are any indication, the utility of these devices has begun to crystallize, and the defining use seems a lot more fun than simply providing a new way to give PowerPoint presentations.
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