This is much different from what you would think of when someone says pico projector phone. Tipically you would think… “projecting on a wall” while this only replacing the screen. I imagine that Sony is going with this route because it allows for a much larger screen while allowing them to keep the unit compact. Also, The necessary requirements to make an LCD screen that large while that thin would be Incredibly difficult. There would be a HUGE amount of returns due to cracked LCDs.
Sony Ericsson has filed for a US patent for a “Mobile Communication Device with Built-In Projecting Screen” that could translate to a smartphone with an integrated pico projector. The device shown would also get a fold-out screen surface onto which that pico projector will throw the images on. From the technical drawings taken from the patent, it’s not likely the projector is made to work without the fold-out screen, however.
The reason for the development isn’t clear, as the screen surface isn’t much larger than the traditionalLCD screen of the handset, especially on the horizontal flip device shown in the photos. It’s also unknown what the screens would be made of, but their simple nature should mean they do not take up much space.
The idea is simply a patent thus far and may see only some if any of its developments implemented in the future, but patents are often used both as testbeds and as partial sources for new ideas. [viaUnwired View]