Pico projectors are portable projectors; they could be an accessory to handheld devices such as mobile phones, tablets, phablets, and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), or be attached to a display device through USB ports among others. The global market was estimated to be 25.1 million units in 2013, with estimated revenue of USD 3.66 billion in the same year. Pico projectors are small in size; as a result, they can be embedded in devices including mobile phones and digital cameras. However, they do not offer resolution and brightness comparable to that of a traditional projector. Pico projectors work on the basis of technologies including Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS), Digital Light Processing (DLP) and Laser Beam Steering (LBS). Digital light processing involves the use of mirrors and a light source in order to control the amount of light received by pixels on the image.
A color wheel between the light source and mirrors helps split the light into red/green/blue. LCoS technology similar to DLP, liquid-crystal is used instead of mirrors, which controls the amount of light received. LBS uses three RGB laser beams which are combined with the help of optics. The high degree of convenience offered by pico projectors is expected to be the key driving force for the industry. These devices make it easy for the increasing number of corporate personnel to give presentations and reduce reliance on separate dedicated equipment, carrying which can be cumbersome. In addition, decreasing cost of pico projectors is expected to fuel market growth over the forecast period. Growing commercialization and production of these devices due to high demand has lowered the average selling prices. An increasing percentage of the population possesses digital cameras and mobile phones, which is expected to positively impact product demand, since projectors can be embedded into these devices. Higher costs of the resultant devices embedded with pico projectors may present a barrier to the market and prove to be a challenge for manufacturers.
Standalone pico projectors require an external cable or USB for input; in order to display images, they need another device for streaming the video signal. Cables used could be VGA or HDMI, with independent devices comprising laptops among others. USB pico projectors are also standalone in nature; they require a USB for both power as well as data; as a result, they need a laptop or tablet. Since they do not include a battery, they are small and lightweight. USB and embedded pico projectors accounted for half of the overall market share in 2013. Embedded projectors are mostly incorporated in mobile phones; however, they are expected to be increasingly used in digital cameras and laptops over the next six years. Laser pico projectors are a relatively recent development; they use laser beams and provide a richer color palette as well as the option of image enlargement. In addition to consumer electronics, pico projectors are used in application areas including aerospace, automotive, healthcare and retail among others.
North America is expected to lead the market over the forecast period, with 36.6% of the overall share in 2013; Asia Pacific and Europe occupied over 25% of the market share each in the same year. In terms of production, North America is the leading economy on account of the large number of market participants in the U.S. In comparison, there are fewer players in Asia Pacific, as a result of which it accounts for a small share in production. However, the proliferation of consumer electronics in Asia Pacific is expected to drive regional consumption. The Asia Pacific market is expected to be the fastest growing over the next six years, in terms of volume as well as revenue.
Pico projector market volume share by region, 2013
Companies operating in the market include 3M, Optoma, Syndiant, Texas Instruments, and Microvision among others. The industry is characterized by intense competition, with participants competing on the basis of product and technology. Pico projector prices depend upon the features provided, and estimated cost cuts are expected to result in price wars. New product development as well as enhancement is expected to remain the key growth strategy adopted by these players over the forecast period.