Beam Me Up, Samsung!

The new Galaxy Beam from Samsung includes a built-in projector.

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Beam, a new Android smartphone with a difference. In addition to all the features you’d expect to find in a computerized phone for your pocket, it has one additional attraction. The phone includes a 15 lumen projector, built right in.

No, this isn’t a high-definition display, but the way things are progressing it may not take long to reach that. It’s only standard definition (not even widescreen), but the phone is still just half an inch thick. And the 15 lumen output would have been impressive for a pocket projector just a few years ago, yet here it is integrated into a smartphone handset. This is not bright enough to fill a wall with the lights on, but in controlled lighting, it’s enough to let a handful of people watch photos or videos instead of crowding around the phone’s tiny display panel.

Projectors in phones have not yet become a compelling feature for consumers; Jack Segal of Pacific Media Associates points out that in spite of Samsung’s pioneering efforts, the company’s projector phones have acheived “only moderate sales.” As the demand for mobile video grows, however, I expect that this feature could take hold before long. And Samsung has a head start on the pack in terms of technology.