Oh, now THIS is cool. A new phone unveiled by Chinese corporation Lenovo (makers of the Ideapad tablet, amongst others), will be able to project interactive objects, such as virtual keyboards or piano keys onto almost any flat surface.
The ‘Smart Cast’ phone (which could have been branded better, it has to be said) will also be able to project videos and photographic content onto walls, desks or any other flat surface, allowing the user to share videos (and even potentially screen movies) with multiple viewers.
The phone is able to project a fully functional replica of its own touch screen, or even a full-size computer keyboard if desired.
Despite being utterly tiny (34mm x 26mm x 5mm), the phone’s laser projector does not need focussing in order to project far larger images onto walls, desks, or anywhere else you might need to project an image (and for all you nerd lings aiming on creating a pocket Bat-Signal, forget it. I got there first!).
The projector itself can also be manually moved into at least one other position, which ensures that the projection quality should always be first rate.
…It even has a motorbike style kickstand to keep it upright when you’re using the virtual keyboard. How cool is that?
Justifiably proud of their new creation, Lenovo hired Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang to play the phone’s virtual piano as projected on the desk in front of him. I suppose they could afford to, as it was recently announced that their profits are up 20% from last year.
Of course, projector phones have been explored in the past, usually without success. The Samsung Galaxy Beam, released in 2012, was a failure of Star Trek: Into Darkness proportions (the joke being in the ‘beam me up’ area – in case you missed that) and the technology is notoriously hard to use. Still, perhaps this time somebody has finally gotten it right? Time will tell…
Sadly for us Brits, the Smart cast phone seems unlikely to be released here in the UK, so for us, it’s all a moot point in the end.
The Smart Cast phone was officially unveiled at Lenovo’s Tech World conference in Beijing, China, an event that also saw the debut of a new smartwatch, which has a ‘public’ and ‘private’ mode for some reason (all I can imagine it would be useful for is if somebody asked you the time whilst you were watching porn – at which point, keeping the screen on your wrist would defeat the object somewhat anyway).
It is open to interpretation as to whether or not the Smart Cast phone will be a stroke of consumer electronics genius or a costly failure, but for now, the early buzz certainly looks intriguing and you can pretty much guarantee that various engineering bigwigs employed by other developers will be following its progress with interest.