During September-November 2011 PMA invited manufacturers around the world who make components (e.g., imager chips or illumination systems), optical engine modules, and complete pico projectors to quantify (1) which features, functions, and prices pico projectors should have, (2) which technologies are most likely to succeed, and (3) which use cases will be most popular as the future unfolds. The high-growth emerging category of pico projectors includes all battery-powered or battery-powerable models, whether companion (accessory) or embedded in mobile devices or larger hosts.
“Pico projector manufacturers have already made great strides in increasing the brightness of their models. But the manufacturers surveyed expect strong continued progress through 2015, thanks to both improved luminous efficiency and use of larger batteries”, said Dr. William Coggshall, President of Pacific Media Associates. “In 2011 only 36% of companion (accessory) pico projectors sold offered a respectable 30 lumens or more of brightness. But by 2015, 62% of pico projectors sold will offer 30+ lumens, and¬for such diminutive gadgets¬a whopping 16% are expected to deliver 150+ lumens. By contrast, the brightness of optical engines embedded in other mobile devices is heavily constrained by the restrictions in size and power consumption of the host devices. Even then the manufacturers estimated that the proportion of engines producing 30+ lumens would grow from 6% in 2011 to 18% in 2105.
“Buyers of companion pico projectors in 2011 were already getting a lot for their money, but during the 2012-2015 time frame they will be getting a lot more”, continued Coggshall. “In 2011, only 29% sold for $199 or less, but this figure is expected to rise to 60% in 2015. And not only are the models being sold significantly brighter, but they also will have higher resolution and lots more features, e.g., personal media players and document viewers.”
The pico projectors will also have considerably more connectivity with other mobile devices. Companion models will be using either wired or wireless technology, with 22% of them connecting to cellphones and 21% connecting to tablets by 2015 (up from zero two years ago), for example. Of course, these combinations can also be achieved by embedding an optical engine in the host device, with 40% of embedded engines going into cellphones and 13% going into tablets by 2015.
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