QP Optoelectronics, a projector maker with headquarters in Suzhou, China, announced that the LightPad, first announced in September 2011, will debut at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in early January 2012. Folded up, LightPad looks a lot like a netbook, but is, in fact, a smartphone accessory with no computing power or storage of its own. When connected to the phone via HDMI/MHL, the embedded DLP pico projector provides the smartphone user with an 11″ rear projection monitor and full sized keyboard. For larger audiences, the keyboard can be flipped around, hiding the screen and displaying images and video like a traditional projector. Two versions are under development. Slated for mass production in mid-2012, the G1 will produce 18 lumens at WVGA (848×480) resolution, measure 10″ x 8″ x 0.5″ and weigh 0.9 lbs. Planned for sometime in 2013, the G2 will produce 50 lumens at 720p (1,280×720) resolution, measure 10″ x 8″ x 0.24″ and weigh 0.8 lbs. Both models will have their own batteries and will support Android, RIM Blackberry, Apple iPhone and Windows smartphones. Pricing was not disclosed.
PMA’s projector market research has seen similar smartphone accessory products, like the Motorola Lapdock and the Redfly Mobile Companion, but LightPad is the first to use a pico projector to enable sharing content with larger audiences.