Pacific Media Associates (PMA) has predicted that the worldwide market for pico projectors will reach 22 million units by 2014, up from about 700,000 units in 2010. in its lates annual survey, PMA invited manufacturers around the world who make components (e.g., imager chips or illumination systems), optical engine modules and complete pico projectors to quantify (1) which features, functions, and prices pico projectors should have, (2) which technologies are most likely to succeed, and (3) which applications will be most popular as the future unfolds. The high-growth emerging category of pico projectors includes all battery-powered or battery-powerable models, whether companion (standalone) or embedded in mobile devices or larger hosts.
“Buyers of pico projectors in late 2010 were already getting a lot for their money, but during the 2011-2014 time frame covered by the survey they will be getting a lot more”, said Dr. Bill Coggshall, president of Pacific Media Associates. “For example, in 2010 most models offered either VGA (640 x 480 pixels) or Wide VGA (854 x 480 pixels) resolution, but by 2014 these will have shifted to SVGA (800 x 600 pixels), XGA (1024 x 768 pixels), or 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) resolution, resulting in much better quality images’ being shown. And during the same time period, the average street prices will have decreased substantially. The consensus of the group was that in 2012 35% of all units sold would cost $199 or less, but by 2014 this price range would include 53% of the units.”
“Because of the newness of the pico projector category, the expectations of manufacturers have changed considerably from year to year”, continued Coggshall. “In the 2008 and 2009 surveys, live TV and video combined were predicted to be the largest application in 2012 or 2013 by a considerable margin, but in the 2010 survey viewing photographs and presentations were expected to be nearly as important as TV/video by 2014.”
Because tablets and slates were launched with great fanfare in 2010, PMA explored whether these manufacturers expected tablets/slates would increase the popularity of pico projectors (by providing more content to be displayed on a larger picture) or decrease the popularity (by providing a competing “large-enough” display). Surprisingly for a group that would be expected to be staunch advocates of pico projectors, in 2012 16% said they expected the tablets/slates would cause a decrease in pico projector sales, and that expectation rose to 21% by 2014. Less surprisingly, 36% foresaw an increase in pico projector sales in 2012, and that expectation rose to 58% in 2014 … perhaps because many of the new models have screens much smaller than the iPad. (48% expected no impact in 2012, falling substantially to 21% in 2014.)