The Mobile Projector

Motorola have announced that they’re going to build a prototype projector for mobile phones, according to to Sci Fi Tech. The resulting image will be about 15 inches (the same as a laptop) and will be better than DVD quality.

Obviously, it is only a prototype we’re talking about here, so it might be 12 – 24 months before we see a production model. But it’s only a matter of time before the mobile destroys (or at least radically shakes up) the projector market, just as it’s done with digital cameras, pagers, alarm clocks and calculators.

More importantly, I think that this is half of the essential component that’s needed for the mobile to really replace the laptop altogether. One of the big objections always cited by the people who try to deny that this is inevitable is the level of viewing detail the PC gives over and above the small screen on a mobile. This projector solution is one example of how the problem can easily be overcome within a few years.

The other objection is that the mobile keypad just isn’t good enough for heavy lifting applications like spreadsheets, graphics, PowerPoint and writing long text documents – as opposed to a cursory and curiously acceptably abrupt email from a Blackberry. In fairness, I’m not sure that voice or virtual keyboards are the answer either – the latter certainly are difficult to use for touch typing.

One solution might be public terminals in the street and office that you plug your phone in for full functionality. Or a travelling keyboard that you Velcro to your thigh, as envisaged by Cory Doctorow in Standard Eastern Tribe. But we’ll have to see which solution prevails in the end.

But I’m absolutely sure that the laptop’s going the way of the mainframe.

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