Projecting the Future

by Braden Kelley

I’ve been hearing for a while now about the big bulb projector being on its way out soon, which will be a happy day to the legions of consultants traveling around and helping organizations around the world. I personally will be happy to say good riddance to the expensive, unreliable technology that have been a source of frustration and embarassment for millions of people.

Whether they will be replaced by LED or laser-powered projectors or something else, isn’t really important. Let’s instead focus on innovation that is on its way, how it will impact behavior, and maybe a little bit about my vision for the future of information sharing.
Microvision, a Redmond-based company, is working on a product called PicoP that will allow you to plug in a mobile projector to your mobile phone, and possibly have one embedded in your Motorola mobile phone beginning in 2009. Why is this an innovation?

Well, it unshackles information and images from the screen of the mobile phone and makes it possible to share information with groups of people simultaneously instead of having to pass your phone around. This will help to change how people think about sharing information and could also possibly change how people think of and interact with their phone. This technology will likely find its way into Smartphones first, enabling users of Apple iPhones and Windows Mobile devices to display e-mail, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, or whatever else they might like to project.

Maybe someday, instead of carrying around a $2,000 fragile projector just in case the client doesn’t have one, maybe consultants will be able to instead use their mobile phone as the contingency plan. This leads me to open up for discussion my vision of our information sharing and consumption future. Here is how I see it:

  1. The mobile phone will become the center of our information and entertainment universe
  • A mobile broadband connection shareable over WiFi that becomes your network access for entertainment and computing in both home and mobile, delivering:
    • Multichannel Television
    • Internet Access
    • VOIP
    • Video Chat
    • Anything else we dream up
  • You will be able to pair a mobile phone with a keyboard or other input device, while also pairing it with any screen or other output device as you would a Bluetooth headset today (including laptops, desktops, and surface computing environments)
  • Data will not live exclusively on the mobile device or on the network, but will be available just the same via the mobile broadband connection

You can see how handy a built-in projector would be in this view of the future. So I ask you: Is Microvision’s PicoP is a valuable innovation or only a merely useful invention?

What do you think?

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