Apple may add micro projectors to iPhones, iPod touches

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With the storage capacities of iPhones and iPod touches on the rise, consumers are likely to begin carrying more and more of their digital video content on the devices, and could soon have the capability to project those videos for friends and family just about anywhere.

According to Taiwanese rumor site DigiTimes, Foxlink, a subsidiary of Apple's iPhone manufacturing partner Foxconn, is currently developing its own micro projector technology that should begin making its way into integrated devices as early as this year.

The publication cited sources "with Taiwan handset makers" who say that tier I smartphone makers such Nokia, Samsung and Apple, "reportedly all plan to launch handsets with built-in micro projectors by the end of this year."

Micro projects are an emerging technology for small form-factor handheld devices comprised of miniaturized hardware and software that can project digital images onto any nearby viewing surface, such as a wall of projection screen.

They're positioned at devices like the iPhone and iPod touch, which are sometimes too tiny to accommodate interfaces for connecting directly to external displays or televisions.

Several third parties have already taken to developing standalone micro projectors that can attach to existing iPhones and iPods, like Microvision's portable PicoP projector that was profiled by AppleInsider when it drew crowds at January's Macworld Expo.

Still a prototype at the time, device worked with either a composite video or RGB video input at standard definition WVGA video resolution (848x480), optionally displayed in a 16:9 wide aspect ratio. The battery was rated for 2 hours, and the focus-free unit was shown projecting a picture up to about 100 inches diagonal.

A brief video demonstration of the device in action can be seen above.