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Lenovo Smartphone Concept Boasts Interactive Projector

BEIJING—Lenovo's new smartphone concept is taking the idea of a phablet to a whole new level. Shown off today at Lenovo Tech World, this smartphone features a built-in pico projector and laser sensors, which not only let you project your smartphone's display onto a larger surface, but interact with it as well.

While the idea of a phone with a projector isn't exactly new--Samsung came out with a similar device a few years ago--and there have been virtual laser keyboards for even longer--Lenovo's concept, called Smart Cast, combines the two into one device.

While still in development, Smart Cast can recognize several gestures, including clicking, swiping, and multitouch, so you can interact with your smartphone as you would on its display. The projector on the phone can also rotate so it can be used to display images on a wall for presentations and movies. A small kickstand on the back of the phone lets it stand up on its own, so you don’t have to prop it up against something else.

At Lenovo Tech World, the smartphone was demonstrated by the pianist Lang Lang, who used the technology first to project a virtual keyboard onto a table, where he played Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. Next, used the projector to show sheet music above a piano, and swiped between pages as he played a classical piece on the piano. In both cases, the phone was very responsive, as Lang played effortlessly, with no lag at all.

Like the other concept devices shown off at Lenovo Tech World, this smartphone/projector is still a year or two away from reaching store shelves, butis an interesting look at where Lenovo is headed with its mobile devices.

Of all the concept devices shown on stage during the keynote address at Tech World, Peter Hortensius, Lenovo's CTO, said that the phone was the closest to being available for consumers. However, he would not specify a timeframe for its launch. In the meantime, here's a video of Lang tickling the virtual ivories.