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Puma Toshiba Samsung Beam & more
Samsung showed off a projector phone just recently at CES. In short order, they're back with yet another projector-blessed model, this time with Android.
The Samsung Beam looks more like a phone that might actually come to market, compared to previous prototypes we've seen. It's a smartphone, for one, which makes sense for the typical projector-phone use case: a business type who needs the ability to make impromptu presentations on the go. It's just barely within the range of "pocketable", although there's still a noticeable size tradeoff.
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Curiously, it's running a customized theme of Android we hadn't seen before. It's nothing too dramatic - the dots that indicate which home screen you're on are numbered, for example - but nonetheless, it's new to us.
The projector works much like previous demos we've seen. Any projector in a phone is going to be relatively dim, (or it would suck your battery dry in minutes,) and the Beam is no exception.
Unlike the Samsung projector phone we saw at CES, the Beam always displays exactly the same thing on the screen and through the projector. We preferred the concept we saw at CES of having just controls on the screen while projecting pure content. It's a shame the Beam doesn't have that feature. The Beam does have the same nifty "Visual Presenter" feature, though, which uses the camera on the back to project a live video image of whatever's below the phone. You can use it to project printed materials, for example.
Also in the Samsung booth were some interesting femtocell products.
One was a successor the Verizon Network Extender. We asked what was new about it; the reps in the booth didn't know, and it wasn't obvious from inspecting it. The existing model doesn't support EVDO, so we hope this new model at least supports that.
Also on display was a mobile WiMAX femtocell, which has the same styling as the Samsung CDMA femtocell offered by Sprint (the Airave.) We'd like to think that's a sign Sprint will offer this, but we don't know for certain.
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