Projector chipmaker Texas Instruments predicts a surge in the number of mobile phones with built-in pico projectors coming onto the market, as technology and wireless data networks become more efficient.

Although phones with pico projectors are not a new concept, TI expects their popularity to grow with trends such as the arrival of faster, 4G networks and the move towards tiered pricing for wireless data.

The company points to analyst projections that indicate tens of millions of pico-enabled devices will be around by 2013. It also says sales of DLP products have been growing 300 per cent a year across different types of mobile device and now span more than 20 brands and 30 kinds of product.

Many of these pico devices will be aimed at emerging markets, where people are more likely to watch video on their phones than on television or a computer. A number of different pico phones are already available in India, with China expected to follow.

Developed markets such as the US and Europe could also benefit from pico projectors built-in to phones, the company says. For example, business-orientated smartphones could have projectors for displaying PowerPoint presentations or sales videos, while sophisticated feature phones could have them for social networking or sharing video with friends.