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Samsung launches first projector phone

18 Feb 2009

The handset integrates Texas Instruments' emerging DLP technology.

The first commercially available mobile telephone to feature a projector display powered by LEDs is now being sold by Korean network operator KTF.

Samsung's "Haptic Beam" handset is reportedly capable of projecting a 50-inch image under ambient light conditions and went on sale earlier in February at a cool $500. It will hit the European market in April or May, but there are no plans yet for a US launch, a Samsung spokesperson told compoundsemiconductor.net.

Texas Instruments (TI) demonstrated the handset – which uses its digital light projection (DLP) chipset to produce the images – at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on February 16.

TI now anticipates the technology being used in smaller and smaller phones. "This is the biggest that the projector will ever be," said Frank Moizio, manager of TI's DLP emerging markets business.

The US semiconductor giant also announced the second generation of DLP technology, which is partnered with light engines containing red, green and blue LEDs in the final projectors.

The latest DLP Pico chipset is both 20 percent thinner and smaller in overall volume and will be available in late 2009. TI says it is "the size of a raisin", and provides standard DVD resolution output.

Moizio pointed out that the new, higher efficiency, DLP Pico will also enhance the brightness of the LED projector, by allowing it to use more power in the light engine.

Luminus Devices has been particularly active in partnering its Phlatlight LEDs with TI's DLP technology and has announced a number of additional implementations of the collaboration this year. Luminus has also supplied Samsung with LEDs for use in DLP rear-projection TVs in the past.

LED manufacturer Osram Opto Semiconductors is also particularly targeting the market for small projectors.

• According to a report from the Reuters UK news agency, Samsung Electronics and its LED manufacturing affiliate Samsung Electro-Mechanics are poised to set up a joint venture focused purely on LED technology within the next two months.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics has typically focused on making white LEDs for mobile phone backlights in the past, although it is now moving towards brighter devices suited to backlighting of large LCD televisions. Its parent company's latest range of TVs, the Series 9, uses LED backlights to provide local dimming.

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