Handheld Android projector throws 80-inch touchscreen

When a tablet screen just isn't big enough, TouchPico steps in with an Android PC that projects a huge touchscreen on just about any surface.

TouchPico
This should keep the kids entertained. TouchPico

It's just not very cozy to crowd more than a couple of people around a tablet screen. If you want to share your Android app with the wider world around you, you might consider the TouchPico, an Indiegogo project that combines an Android device with a tiny projector. This would be a blip on the tech development scene, except that the projected screen is also interactive.

TouchPico runs Android 4.4 and comes stocked with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an HDMI input, a built-in speaker, 4GB of internal memory, and an 80-lumens projector that can throw an image up to 80 inches on a wall, table, ceiling, or other flat surface. It can run native Android apps or hook up with your laptop via a Wi-Fi router, though you'll still need to wield your mouse for Mac and PC uses.

The touchscreen part of the project requires the use of a fat infrared stylus. Just your fingers won't get it done. It behaves pretty much like a really large Android tablet, minus the fancier touchscreen inputs like pinching (though the team is investigating a multi-touch stretch goal). The battery is said to last between 1.5 and 2.5 hours, so you'll probably want to stay within spitting distance of a plug.

As with most projectors, you'll get your best experience out of a darkened room, so the TouchPico isn't likely to become your go-to device for working in bright daylight. But it could easily find a home in classrooms, meeting rooms, and homes. The very small size is an appealing feature, though most buyers are probably attracted to the stylus capability. It looks like it may take some practice for users to effectively handle the stylus without blocking the screen, though.

The TouchPico may be a little limited by its brightness and stylus input, but the project has proven to be popular. It is currently at $178,000 in pledges, well over the original $55,000 funding goal. An early bird $349 pledge level is still available.

While this first-generation TouchPico sounds intriguing, what could be really exciting is what a second generation might hold: a brighter projector, longer battery life, more memory, and multi-touch capabilities in the same small package could be a killer combination.

TouchPico
The TouchPico is enticing to early adopters. TouchPico

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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