TAIWANESE ELECTRONICS FIRM Aiptek unveiled a range of portable video projectors made for Apple IOS and Google Android devices today, and The INQUIRER attended the launch in London to see them in action.
Allowing users to project videos, games and web pages from smartphones and tablets onto walls with a screen size of up to 150cm, or 60in, Aiptek's new series of projectors includes a sleeve-type projector for the Iphone 4 and Iphone 4S, a dongle-type projector for the Ipad, and a pad-style projector for Android devices.
Teaming up with semiconductor company Texas Instruments (TI), Aiptek has installed TI's DLP Pico chip into the projectors. The DLP Pico chip is the same as those used in cinema projectors but has been made for ultra-portable devices at the tenth of the thickness of a human hair. This works via one optical lens and one tiny chip with illumination from three LEDs in the projector to create the projected picture.
The Mobile Cinema I50S is a slot-in projector docking station specifically for the Iphone 4 or Iphone 4S. Once connected, videos are projected onto walls with 640x480 (VGA) pixel resolution and a brightness of 35 lumens. Due to its use of energy-saving RGB LEDs, Aiptek claims that the Mobile Cinema I50S can project for two hours one single charge.
The built-in battery also charges the Iphone up to 80 per cent when connected, ensuring that the phone doesn't die while docked.
Due to Apple's closed source developer code, a free app called Aiptek Viewer has to be launched in order for the Mobile Cinema I50S to recognise and project any video, meaning that not all codecs might be supported. This might be troublesome for jailbroken Iphone devices running video software such as VLC.
However, the good news is that games downloaded from Apple's app store that support TV-out can be played, allowing you to use the smartphone as the control pad while game graphics are presented on the wall.
Another nifty feature is that the Mobile Cinema I50S can be used alongside the Iphone's camera to turn it into an overhead projector, allowing customers to blow up smaller images if need be.
Aiptek said that the Mobile Cinema I50S will be available in the UK from July for £219, although by the Christmas season the price should drop to £199, giving you enough change for a quart of milk and a strawberry lace.
The Mobile Cinema I50D offers the same video resolution, brightness and features as the I50S but is a lightweight box device that's able to connect to any video-enabled Apple product, such as the Ipad and Ipod. Aiptek didn't say to what level it charges the Ipad battery when connected, but it will certainly provide additional power while in use.
The I50D will be available in the UK from September at around £219, and again might be down to £199 by Winter.
The Mobile Cinema A50P projector is a pad shaped projector - hence the "P" - allowing Android smartphones to be placed on top and connected with an embedded microUSB or microHDMI cable.
Aiptek claims it works with almost all Android mobile phones supporting the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) interface including Samsung, HTC, and LG. Unlike the Ipad or Iphone projectors, no app is needed for the A50P to work.
Another benefit of the A50P is that the HDMI interface means that it can also be connected to a notebook PC or games console.
With all the same technical features as the I50S and I50D, the A50P will be available from September at £219, and £199 by Christmas if we're lucky.
In terms of audio, Aiptek said that its portable projector series rely on the speakers from the devices they are connected to for sound reproduction, which might fail to match the quality of the image size being projected.
Aiptek said it hopes to see its new line of projectors made for Apple devices in Apple stores "soon" as it has seen "significant interest" in the projectors at the cappuccino company.
Look for our hands-on video of the Mobile Cinema I50S that we captured at the event, which shows the projector in action. µ