Medl Tech portable monitor gives idea for iPad

Company at Demo presents a 13-inch, battery-powered, USB-driven portable computer monitor. Is there a market for it?

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
Medl Technology panel looks like a great product for a few people. Rafe Needleman/CNET

PALM DESERT, Calif.--Here at DemoSpring 2010, one of the "Alpha pitches"--those from companies not yet developed enough to make it to the main stage--is Medl Technology, which is trying to bring its 13-inch battery-powered, USB-driven portable computer monitor to market.

It's a nice product, but very niche. Geeks who want more working real estate on the road, or pitchmen who want a secondary monitor when they're doing on-screen presentations might find it worthwhile to carry this secondary display. But I don't predict success for this product; the market's just too small.

On the other hand, checking out this device made me want an iPad. If, that is, Apple gets smart and realizes that if they can make the iPad into a Mac secondary monitor. That's what it will take to get me to carry the iPad with me on trips like this one I'm on to the Demo conference.

Otherwise, the tweener iPad is just going to stay home, and that makes it a hard purchase to justify. It's too big and does too little to supplant my iPhone, and cannot replace my MacBook as a work computer. But if it could make my working on the road more productive, it'd be more valuable, and working stiffs like me would be more likely to buy one.