Flashback: the Samsung Galaxy Beam put a cinema in your pocket with its built-in projector
While mounting a tablet with a 7 ”or 8” screen in your pocket, it used to be unthinkable, but foldable phones make it possible these days. But can foldable phones have a 50 ”screen in the pocket? It was supposed to be some crazy origami design.
Still, a smart little phone from 2010 did just that – the Samsung I8520 Galaxy Beam had a built-in DLP projector that could actually create a 50 ”image on the wall. The room was supposed to be very, very dark, and the picture quality was not the best, but it was possible.
Samsung I8520 Galaxy Beam
This is because the pico projector could only handle 15 lumens. Of course, if you pushed the phone closer to the wall, you could sacrifice image size for brightness. Seeing how a built-in projector is not a standard feature today, you can guess that this idea did not catch on.
Samsung I8520 Galaxy Beam
Manufacturers are trying things out. In the early days, phones could not play music – you had to bring a Walkman or a CD player. But MP3 capabilities began to appear in phones in the 90s, and they proved popular enough to hold on.
The same thing happened with cameras – they were once standalone devices, so some were additions to the phone until the first camera phones finally started to appear on the market. Built-in music players and cameras proved to be winning features. But a built-in projector?
Well, it was not an instant hit, but a few years later Samsung gave it another shot with the I8530 Galaxy Beam. Compared to the original, it had a slightly larger screen (4.0 ”vs. 3.7”), although it dropped the Super AMOLED in favor of an LCD. It also had a dual-core processor, so it was better for multimedia tasks and a slightly larger 2,000 mAh battery, which could last 3 hours with the projector turned on.
Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
Even today, a built-in projector sounds like an enticing idea. The entertainment options are obvious – especially now that many of us have not seen the inside of a cinema for over a year. Of course, Beam started in 2010, and back then it was not that common to watch Netflix on your phone, so it was a bit of a hassle to find something to watch.
So you can plug in a gamepad and make some big screen game instead. If it ran on Android, it would work with the beam – its projector simply mirrored the image on the screen.
It was also good for the business to always have a projector handy. The phone came with a document viewer, and you could use the touch screen to crib comments while reviewing your presentation.
Projector pop-up menu • Quick Pad
There was even a tool that allowed the phone to send the feed from its 8MP camera to the projector and form a kind of overhead projector.
The dedicated projector app gives you additional options • Ambient mode • Briefing (alarm) mode
A few years later came the last hurray – Galaxy Beam2. This one had a slightly larger screen (4.66 ”LCD) and doubled the CPU cores again, also the battery was bumped up to 2,600 mAh, but at this point it was clear that the idea was not viable.
Samsung Galaxy Beam2
By the way, Beam was not Samsung’s first phone with a built-in pico projector – it was the Samsung i7410 from 2009. However, it was a low-end phone that limited what you could do with the projector.
Pico projectors are available today as separate units. Some of them run Android directly, others let you use a cable or wireless screen mirror to get the picture from your phone on the wall.
Sony Xperia Touch was an interesting idea about the concept – as you can see from the name, it had an IR sensor that could “see” your fingers and thus create a touch screen up to 23 “in size. You can see it in action in our video review.It was cool, but it’s been four years and there’s no version 2 in sight.
We leave you with this infographic from 2012, which shows all the cool ways you can use a phone with a built-in projector: