The Smart Devices SmartQ U7 is the world's first 7-inch tablet with a built-in projector -- great for office presentations or family movie nights.
Here's a bright idea, a 7-inch tablet with a built-in projector for presentations or even watching films with friends.
The Smart Devices SmartQ U7might not have the catchiest of names and it might not have the same power and processing performance of some of its contemporaries -- the 7-inch tablet space is currently the most competitive in terms of price and specifications -- but it does have one thing that even Google's Nexus 7 or Apple's iPad Mini can't offer: a 35-lumen projector, capable of turning any flat surface into a 60-inch display.
The resolution isn't exactly HD (854 x 480 pixels), but as long as the room is dark enough, it's adequate for watching films and video clips, and the battery is good for up to four hours.
What's more, the projection unit has been integrated in such a way that the tablet doesn't look deformed or in any way ungainly.
The device has appeared at a number of tech shows since the start of 2013 in the run-up to its official launch in the US, and at the CTIA 2013 wireless technology expo and conference in Las Vegas, the SmartQ U7 came second behind the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in its Emerging Technology Awards.
And while the tablet does show a lot of promise and that innovation is not something confined to Google and Apple, the SmartQ U7 does fall down somewhat when it comes to internal specifications which can be described as adequate -- a 1GHz dual-core ARM processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of built in storage (though it does have a MicroSD expansion slot) and 2-megapixel front and rear-facing cameras.
But, with a price tag of $300, even with the device's projection capabilities, many potential owners may feel it is too close to iPad Mini territory but without the performance or screen resolution to really be a viable alternative. The other potential stumbling block is that it ships with Android 4.1 rather than 4.2 and there's no clear indication as to whether or not it will be receiving a software update.
Still, despite these limitations, Smart Devices, the tablet's Chinese maker, should be applauded for trying something different, and the possibility of being able to project films on to the bedroom ceiling for watching TV in bed, or being able to set up a home cinema in a hotel room when the weather's miserable could prove to be a much bigger selling point than whether or not it has the latest version of Android or a quad-core processor.