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3M Launches First Pocket Projector 187

Posted by kdawson
from the gadget-holy-grail dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Popsci.com has a writeup on 3M's new pocket projector, the 3M MPro 110, set to launch on September 30. 'In a dark room, it could project a big enough image to be the ultimate cheap-o home theater. The projector will sell for a mere $359. It doesn't have a speaker, so you'll have to get that separately. But really, how good could a microscopic speaker jammed into this thing sound, anyway?'"
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3M Launches First Pocket Projector

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  • by mbstone (457308) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:33PM (#25004139)

    a lollipop with a Batman projector built-in, in case one has the need to summon the Caped Crusader. I saw it at 7-11.

  • only 640x480 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:34PM (#25004145)

    Not going to be much of a cheap hometheater setup at that resolution.

    • Re:only 640x480 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:40PM (#25004235)

      That's why they called it a Pocket Projector rather than a Home Theater Projector.

      • For sure. Imagine in a few years a laptop the size of a comfy keyboard that projects onto the back of your desk or any convenient wall...... Heck, imagine that right now with a 7" screen 'eee'..... For most things I view a screen for high def isn't needed at all. A laptop and a "monitor" in my backpack though...... Cool
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Plaid Phantom (818438)
          I'm imagining this projector combined with a Bluetooth Laser Keyboard [thinkgeek.com]. With a mini computer made out of Gumstix or something.
        • by aliquis (678370)

          I'd much rather take a high definition small sharp screen than a shitty definition huge piece of shit though ;D, guess we are different.

          Size isn't all that important, you just have to come closer, that's what I would tell her, if I had a girlfriend that is. (Knowing I'm going towards the off topic moderation I guess I would pick girlfriend as monitors, rather high def and small than low def and huge :D)

    • It's a step. Projectors for decent home theater are priced pretty nicely now. I think a good 720p projector can be had for about $1000 these days.

    • by zakezuke (229119)

      Not going to be much of a cheap hometheater setup at that resolution.

      As others have pointed out, it's a pocket projector, not a HT projector. Also DVD resolution is only about 720 x 480 dropping down to 352 x 480 at LP. While not perfect, nothing to sneeze at considering the price. It would be ideal to catch a vid while camping.

      • Re:only 640x480 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by amRadioHed (463061) on Monday September 15, 2008 @02:21AM (#25005943)

        Actually, the ideal while camping is to have no electronics at all apart from a cellphone for emergencies only. IMHO, that is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by zakezuke (229119)

          Actually, the ideal while camping is to have no electronics at all apart from a cellphone for emergencies only. IMHO, that is.

          That may be your ideal, however that doesn't make it the ideal.

          Camping serves many purposes, top among which is it's the cheapest form of lodging even if in the states there are heavy restrictions on doing it.

          Another purpose it serves is recreation. There are a ton of natural wonders that either don't have services near by, or are just outside the reach of civilization. This may include lakes, hot springs, beaches, mountains, valleys, and certainly many others. However, this doesn't exclude camping for i

        • Actually, the ideal while camping is to have no electronics at all apart from a cellphone for emergencies only. IMHO, that is.

          You also need a blender.
          For the margaritas, of course.
          Then it doesn't matter if you did bring anything else, because after enough margaritas you won't remember about the other gadgets.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      11" is a much bigger factor.

      Anyway at washed out at 11" I don't see why anyone would get this, if it's for a toy it must be made much cheaper. You can get an LCD with much better picture obviously for less (if you get 17" ... I don't know where to get 12" or so and they may cost more ;/)

      Anyway, the point was that no one can complain that an LCD is inconvenient anyway because how fucking convenient is it to get a 11" single tone and color area and something to put your projector on? Yes that's right! Not ver

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:36PM (#25004167) Homepage Journal
    We've had them for a long, long time.

    Oh, wait that was pocket projectors? I'm sorry. I was only off my one consonant.
  • Damn nerds and their goofy pocket projectors...
  • by R2.0 (532027) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:38PM (#25004209)

    Anybody else read that as "3M Pocket Protector"? Because with those specs, that would be AWESOME!

  • by nick_davison (217681) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:47PM (#25004293)

    I tried showing one of my female colleagues my pocket projector.

    Anyone hiring?

  • Specs (Score:5, Informative)

    by lordofthechia (598872) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:50PM (#25004303)

    The article didn't list any specs but a little digging found this:

    3M MPRO 110M
    640x480 Resolution
    LCoS Technology [wikipedia.org] (supposedly similar to DLP)
    VGA and composite in
    150g weight

    Considering how small 1080p DLP chips are, and now that they're using LEDs as lightsources, I was suprised that a DLP model wasn't first to market...

    That said, 3M has a smaller model for cell phone use: here [pocket-lint.co.uk].

  • by crow (16139) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:50PM (#25004315) Homepage Journal

    Something like this would be great when combined with a Windows Mobile version of Powerpoint or an iPhone version of Keynote. One more step towards eliminating the need for laptops. (Next up, docking stations for smart phones.)

    • by Scubaraf (1146565) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @11:00PM (#25004775)
      This is the killer app for this product. I work in a hospital - the reason we don't use PDA's or iPhones to interact with our patients' electronic records is that the screen is too small to see the necessary data and the interface is too slow for entering lengthy narrative information. Laptops or tablet PC's could do this, but they are too large to carry around in your pocket. Enter the iPhone with this projector and handwriting or voice recognition. Total game changer in my field.
  • Interesting... it actually seems like it's small enough that you could fit it in a laptop. That way you wouldn't even have to have mess with carrying around two separate objects (and be bothered to set them up). Though of course the question of how licensing would work comes to mind.

    It'd be a nice laptop feature to have though, once the technology matures a little bit.
  • by sonamchauhan (587356) <sonamc.gmail@com> on Sunday September 14, 2008 @09:58PM (#25004367) Journal

    Good for DIY multitouch setups
    http://www.google.com.au/search?q=multitouch [google.com.au]

  • by inode_buddha (576844) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @10:01PM (#25004395) Journal
    Who needs sound when you project goatse from your cellphone on a crowded bus?
    • by zakezuke (229119) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @10:13PM (#25004481)

      Who needs sound when you project goatse from your cellphone on a crowded bus?

      Who needs a projector when you can setup a wifi hotpoint with everything redirected to a local cache of goatse.

      • by initialE (758110)

        Who needs wifi when you can pull down your pants and spread them?

    • true, but I'm sure the folks on the bus would appreciate 2girls1cup a lot more with sound. It's much more tasteful with the audio cranked up.
  • I can't imagine what the market would be for this thing. Even if the brightness isn't a problem, the resolution is too low for almost any worthwhile use I can imagine. 800x600 is about the lowest I would want for even the simplest tasks.

    • by zakezuke (229119)

      I can't imagine what the market would be for this thing. Even if the brightness isn't a problem, the resolution is too low for almost any worthwhile use I can imagine. 800x600 is about the lowest I would want for even the simplest tasks.

      Well, I can "imagine" LP resolution DVDs, even regular SP dvd with some down sampling. I can really imagine a simple power point presentation being MORE than adequate at 640x480. Not that you don't have a point. WinXP hardly supports 640x480 anymore, in fact it's a bit of a pain if you want to output to a TV.

      • by eagl (86459)

        My job required me to give numerous presentations using projectors for about a year, and even when the audience was just a handful of people I wouldn't have been able to give a reasonable presentation with such a low resolution projector. In every one of the situations where such a small projector would have been useful, I simply printed my slides and handed them out, which was more than satisfactory to my bosses and the presentation audience sitting around the table.

        • by zakezuke (229119)

          My job required me to give numerous presentations using projectors for about a year, and even when the audience was just a handful of people I wouldn't have been able to give a reasonable presentation with such a low resolution projector. In every one of the situations where such a small projector would have been useful, I simply printed my slides and handed them out, which was more than satisfactory to my bosses and the presentation audience sitting around the table.{/quote>

          Well, absolutely. If you're looking for a decent presentation you simply can't beat slides for portability and the simple technology required to display them. This would include 35mm slides, while requiring a certain bother and effort to convert letter to slide, certain time and expense, this still is a viable technology. Ektachrome Professional I believe is rated at about 4096x3276, or in paper of about 350dpi or so. When making a copy, expect to lose at least 1/2 that (note, number pulled from arse), but that still about 2048x1638 which isn't too shabby. This presumes a good macro lens and such. When dealing with inkjet, I question whether printable transparencies or a good photo quality paper and slides provide a better result.

          Now you or I would likely need at least 800x600, if not higher. I won't argue that. But 640x480 is almost good enough for DVD SP, certainly is good enough for LP DVD. The bulk of a series of slides or transparencies and the relativly simple nature of the equipment is likely to be more bulky than a laptop and a pocket projector. So I will still see it as being useful, if in the spiffy toy class.

          • by eagl (86459)

            By "slides", I meant "powerpoint slides", not film or transparencies. But your points are very valid.

            I also see your point about low-quality DVD, but that seems like a pretty tiny market, people for whom a $350 device to show low quality video to a small group is a better solution than a variety of alternatives.

            • by zakezuke (229119)

              By "slides", I meant "powerpoint slides", not film or transparencies. But your points are very valid.

              I also see your point about low-quality DVD, but that seems like a pretty tiny market, people for whom a $350 device to show low quality video to a small group is a better solution than a variety of alternatives.

              I was confused on the point of slides. I was unsure if you meant printed out transparencies or slides as in 35mm, where transparencies on an overhead projector are still quite the norm.

              I do see a market for such a device. To me, it's a matter of a simple portable DVD player and this projector, or a laptop and this projector. The alternative really is lugging around an LCD screen which to be fair is a tad fragile. Keep in mind that this sort of thing was available in the past in the form of film strips o

  • http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/01/1342225

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @10:34PM (#25004633) Homepage Journal

    SoundAndVision.com (_Stereo Review_ magazine's website) is giving audiophile raves to a $180, 5.6 inch, 9.5 ounce portable speaker called Foxl [soundandvisionmag.com]. So the answer to the question is that for about $500, a projector and the Foxl could make a microscopic kit into a hugely entertaining movie theater.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      OK, small speakers can sound great, especially with a subwoofer. What I don't get is the article's point on the lack of speakers in a projector. It's like complaining that a fishtank doesn't come with a bicycle.

      I can't imagine why somebody willing to set up a projector for a home theatre, would be satisfied with crappy sound coming from a completely wrong direction. I can understand monitors and TVs with speakers, because they are usually in sensible locations with respect to the picture.

      Yet most of th

  • I know people are complaining about the resolution, but honestly, the only time I want a bigger screen than my monitor is to play huge Quake III Arena on my wall.

    (Yes, I know, but it suits my gaming needs. So sue me.)

    • but honestly, the only time I want a bigger screen than my monitor is to play huge Quake III Arena on my wall.

      What do you do when you have friends or relatives over, and they don't own their own PCs (for example, they might be children), yet they still want to play video games with you?

  • by cashman73 (855518) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @11:14PM (#25004857) Journal
    It's interesting. But nothing really new or groundbreaking; we discussed another pocket projector that uses lasers [pcmag.com] back in January of this year [slashdot.org]. We also talked about other small projectors [nytimes.com] on April 1 of this year [slashdot.org], too.
    • by ndege (12658) on Monday September 15, 2008 @01:06AM (#25005531)

      Actually, as another poster pointed out, what is groundbreaking is that this is the first uber-small projector to actually be "for sale". As I understand it, all the other "small" projectors are expensive prototypes used in large corporate peeing contests at trade-shows.

      Chevy Volt anyone?

  • does that mean regular projectors will come down drastically in price?

    didn't think so.

    Seriously isn't that how it works? New tech is way expensive and old tech drops in price? This pocket projector seems downright reasonable for what it is.

  • I'm trying real hard to see how useful this gadget will be, I mean, up to 11 inches widescreen right now is kinda of .. "ahem" limiting. Laptops typically have 14 inches screens and up anyways, so, I can't see how this mini projector can compete with that.

    But I suspect that when they can do something like 1280 x 1024, where you get about 3 feet of widescreen view , then it will be truly a useful device to use for meetings.

    • by zakezuke (229119)

      I'm trying real hard to see how useful this gadget will be, I mean, up to 11 inches widescreen right now is kinda of .. "ahem" limiting. Laptops typically have 14 inches screens and up anyways, so, I can't see how this mini projector can compete with that.

      As I said in another post, an LCD screen is rather fragile, not the sort of thing you would choose to travel with if you had a choice.

      If you had a laptop already, for that size use the damn screen. But I suspect that in a dark room you could expand this out beyond that which is practical for a laptop.

      But, here's the kicker, a laptop has a bit of bulk to it. Imagine such a device on a portable DVD player. That would be rather handy. For portable applications I can see the benefits over a laptop LCD scree

    • Ever tried to mount your laptop screen on the ceiling? I find laying down on my back to be the most comfortable position while watching a movie.
  • With this and a virtual keyboard [virtual-la...yboard.com] and mouse, you can carry your laptop in your pocket.

    What, your laptop doesn't fit in your pocket? Would you settle for a cell phone running something like ThinStation [sourceforge.net] and a cellular-internet hookup? Remember, "The network is the computer."

  • Bill The Galactic Hero, (by Harry Harrison - one of the better sci-fi novels) had a bit where Bill was continually being harassed by a trooper to convert to his religion. Once or maybe twice, the trooper got out a cheap little pocket projector displaying how the apocalypse and heaven would look like for Bill in the future.
    I've read a lot of sci-fi, but that's the only book I can remember that uses a pocket projector.
    There's a great quote in it that goes something like this:
    "You are angry my Son. Anger is th

  • I got yer pocket projector right here, buddy!

  • I don't want to put down their effort, but this is the fifth "first" portable projector I'm hearing about in the last 3-4 years and they all suffer from the same problems: low resolution and extremely low brightness.

    One of the pocket projectors was even built into some models of cellphones (the fact we don't hear about such cellphones is a testament about the success of this feature).

    The pricetag isn't way too high, but you have to consider that at this low res/lumen, it does perform worse than the screen o

  • Real nerds support Microvision's projector [microvision.com] because they want virtual retinal displays [wikipedia.org].

  • How hot does it get when projected on a wall?

    Say, 4 foot by 6 foot?

  • The 3M Pocket Projector Protector

    (sorry)
  • Whew. Amazing how cheap $359 became when gas hit $4.

  • The projector will sell for a mere $359.

    With projectors, the cost of replacement lamps QUICKLY surpasses the cost of the projector itself. So, quoting just the sale price of a projector is a bit like quoting the price of a new car, without any mention of gas mileage (or engine specs like # of cyl. and hp, which can give you some idea).

    While being "pocket" sized is interesting, I don't think the size convenience is nearly enough to make up for the short lived and very expensive bulbs found is ALL mass-marke

  • Seriously, what use is it? Real projectors are hardly huge (mine is about the same size as an Eeee).

    For $25 more they could put a proper LED in it.

  • The whole bulb-based generation of projectors always amazed me, with the astounding costs of replacement bulbs.

    Does anyone know what drives that? Is it simply that they are associated with devices that used to cost several thousand? When my sharp projector's bulb blew, I looked around, and it is cheaper to buy a new projector than replace a freakin' bulb. And this new generation of projectors are selling for half of that.

    I actually disassembled the bulb assembly on my Sharp, and dug the core element out

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