Microvision Preps First Laser Pocket Projector

Think the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen is big? How about a handheld with a 100-inch screen? That's the promise of Microvision's PicoP laser projector.

By bouncing pulse of red, green, and blue laser light of a vibrating mirror, the PicoP can paint WVGA (848x480-pixel) images up to 100-inches diagonal in a dark room—or about 12 inches under bright lights—on a wall, tabletop or any other surface.

Measuring a scant 0.26 by 0.79 by 1.57 inches, the PicoP is about the size of the original cellphone cameras, and Microvision hopes to make it just as ubiquitous in cell phones and other handhelds.

For starters, though, Microvision will bundle the PicoP with a battery in a separate handheld device, about the size of an iPod—called the SHOW, a prototype that the company debuted today. Microvision says it's already inked deals with companies that will sell the SHOW under their own brands before year's end. Prices aren't set, but spokesman Matt Nichols says they could be made and sold profitably for under $500.

Microvision appears to be leading the slow-paced race with Light Blue Optics and Texas Instruments to bring the first micro projectors to market. Like Microvision, TI did show an early prototype laser projector at last year's Consumer Electronics Show. But TI has since decided to switch from lasers to light-emitting diodes for its Pico Projector, and it is not expected to show anything new at the 2008 CES next week.—Sean Captain