Just two years ago, the idea of projectors being built into stuff was futuristic. Two years ago, for instance, ASUS demoed a laptop with one embedded in the bezel, but it was just that: proof of concept.
Two years later, though, the idea of a projector being just another component, the way cameras are in phones, isn't so far-out. Here at Mobile World Congress, Samsung is showing off the Beam (also known as the Halo), a phone with a built-in projector that it's on the verge of shipping to many markets, including Europe, Africa, and Latin America, with Asia expected to follow later (sorry, Americans: we're not sure yet if you'll ever see this).
The projector, which is built on Texas Instrument's DLP Pico WVGA chipset, has a brightness of six lumens, which is pretty weak. You'll need some pretty dark conditions, as Samsung created at its booth, to make out the picture. In additon to 720p video, users can "beam" photos. In either case, the picture can get as wide as 50 inches.
The projector aside, the Beam is, at the end of the day, still a phone. A phone loaded with the works, including a 1-GHz processor, 3.7-inch Super AMOLED display, GPS, Wi-Fi, 3G, and a 5-megapixel camera. The phone runs Android 2.1 with TouchWiz 3.0 on top.
After the jump, check out video of the Beam projecting video onto a wall several feet away. And sound off in the comments: would you use this? If so, when?