The email hit my inbox a few minutes ago. "Looking for Unique at CES?" The grammar was suspect but I clicked on the email, and was immediately rewarded with a look at the Optoma Neo-i. This iPod / iPhone dock definitely qualifies as "Unique". It has its own pico-projector built into the body. The early review paints it as a pretty mind-blowing little gadget.
The Neo-i packs two 8 watt speakers with a ported design to increase depth. It has class D amplifiers and good enough sound to impress the audiophile crowd. That projector is 50 ANSI Lumen with an LED backlit .3" WVGA DLP color wheel. The Neo-i is power-efficient enough to run on batteries.
It displays images up to 120" in 854x480 resolution and 16:9. The Neo measures 1.5 feet in width, is 9" deep and 3" tall. It comes with an IR remote and has a VGA port as well as a 2.5 mm composite video/stereo audio port. There's also a 3.5 mm audio output and HDMI 1.3a input. The projector can display in 1080p at 60 Hz, which is frankly astonishing.
The price is a bit painful: $450 is a lot to ask of anyone. But Optoma has delivered a truly one-of-a-kind product here. It is small enough to fit inside a backpack and the fact that it can run off of batteries makes it perfect for camping or street theater. A little earlier I mused with a friend about bringing it on the train and playing movies for commuters.
The Optoma Neo-i will ship in December, but it'll be coming to CES 2011. I'll have a chance to report first-hand on the video and audio quality then.
This projector/dock also looks perfect for business applications. It can be easily moved from boardroom to office, and the variety of input options should cut down on the hassle of organizing presentations. I'm most excited by the ability to run my own drive-in movie theater in the middle of nowhere, though.