Portable video projectors and display methods have long been a boon to small business owners looking to present to clients, speaking audiences and internal teams. Just one problem: Quality is often highly suspect when compared to traditional projection devices, and transportability isn't always as effortless as one might hope from a mobile option. Thankfully, a number of new solutions promise to keep potential hiccups surrounding road warriors' public speaking ops strictly to frayed nerves and cheesy jokes--not technical hiccups.
While pricey at $500, Microvision's ShowWX laser pico projector lets you beam surprisingly bright, colorful images and video from portable devices such as an iPhone onto a wall, screen or other ready surface ranging between roughly 6-200 inches in size. Displayed in widescreen WVGA resolution, the device--small enough to fit in your pocket or purse--can go 90 minutes to two hours on a battery charge, and can connect to digital cameras, cell phones, laptops and more. Owners can also plug in to other gadgets with a TV out or VGA capability, making it possible to present images on whatever medium you feel makes the most striking impression.
Also new is 3M's MPro 150 , a 5-inch long, 5.6-ounce portable projector compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. Using the gadget, which is reputedly a third brighter than predecessor the MPro 110, you can display photos, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, videos and more. Equipped with 1GB of internal memory and stereo speakers, owners can also use the gizmo to store presentations on-board without having to tote along a separate laptop, or play digital music and sound effects. USB input and MicroSD memory slots further allow easy access to additional data. Available now for around $395, mobile marketing and sales forces can use it to project presentations to audiences of intimate size.
Designed especially for smartphone owners, RIM's BlackBerry Presenter further makes sales pitches and case studies a cinch to share. Costing just $199, all you have to do is connect it to a monitor or projector (as well as your BlackBerry cellular handset via Bluetooth wireless) and you can present PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 slides using your cell phone. A little black and silver box that's easy to transport, sizing up at just 3.4 by 2.4 inches, owners enjoy a variety of options, from the ability to plan preset slide swaps at various times, pause the display or call up custom animations on command. At odds with PhoneSuit's MiLi Pro ($399.95), a rechargeable portable video projector and speaker system for iPhone and iPod Touch models, it isn't a stand-alone solution. However, as with all units suggested here, it does offer a similar upside: the ability to conveniently travel and give presentations without toting a clunky, full-size projection unit.
While all options may cost a pretty penny, and none is likely to prove ideal for those times you need to present to an audience of hundreds or are invited to share PowerPoints with leading industry luminaries, fret not. For the routine sales pitch or client presentation, each should serve adequately, and save you a potential hernia at that.