I need your help. There is too much confusion in the small projection space over definitions of various platforms. I am asking you to give us your opinion on how we should segment and name these products.
Senior Analyst and Editor
for Insight Media
Here are some of the confusing terms I am talking about: pico-projector, nano-projector, pocket projector, handheld projector, ultra-mobile projector, integrated projector, embedded projector, companion projector, toy projector and low cost projector. Are these all the same thing? How are they different? If different, how do we define the differences?
There are a few ways to approach the problem. One is to segment products by lumen output. Does it make sense to have categories like 5-15 lumens, 15-25 lumens, 25-100 lumens and 100-300 lumens? The problem with this is that it says nothing about the technology, size, platform or cost.
Does it make more sense to segment by the illumination technology: LED, laser or some of the new low wattage arc-lamp sources? Maybe, but each of these technologies can offer a range of light outputs. In addition, there are already hybrid projectors that use lasers and LEDs in the same platform.
How about by size or volume? This may be a good way to separate the embedded from the stand-alone products, but you can just use those words, too.
How about by cost? There are low cost projectors coming to the market that will compete on price with laser and LED-based platforms, but they will offer different trade-offs in terms of image performance and size. Maybe we should just pick a price level below which any projection product is defined as "low cost." This level will need to be adjusted each year, however.
We can define them by applications perhaps. A toy projector would signify low cost, compromised image quality and a consumer use aimed at kids and maybe families. A companion projector is something designed as an accessory for products like cell phones, video iPods, DVD players, etc.
We might also want to consider the energy use of the projector. Embedded and low-lumen companion projectors will most likely be optimized for low energy use as they will need to function on compact batteries. A pocket projector can work on batteries, but this significantly increases the size and weight of the system, so it is clearly much less portable. If used by a road warrior in an office setting, it will more likely be plugged in, but if used by a teenager to show a movie in the bedroom, maybe it won’t be plugged in. So what is it - a quasi-portable?
Below is a table of some suggestions about how to segment these new types of front projectors. Tell us what you think of this segmentation and how this might be adjusted to better suite the evolution of products in these new areas.