Research into the development of micro-projectors has surmised that 2011 will still be a developmental year for them and strong market penetration will not be achieved for some time.

The prediction comes despite the key advances made in the technology this year by developers and manufacturers including Nikon, Samsung Electronics, BenQ and Aiptek International. All of the brands have launched products - whether mobile phones or stand-alone projectors - that incorporate the microtechnology.

The cost of the tiny projectors, however, remains prohibitive and the lumen brightness and resolution that the models produce still leave a lot to be desired.

The company behind the information, Digitimes Research, believes the cost of micro-projector modules will determine whether the products with integrated micro-projector will become popular in the channel, with US$40 being the desirable threshold.

Until these obstacles can be overcome, gadgets such as Nikon's S1100pj digital camera, which features an integrated micro-projector, will remain a niche market. While the camera has been an eye-catching selling point for the brand, its total shipment volume has only been 200,000 units.

BenQ's S11 digital pocket camcorder - with an integrated LED projector - has also performed below expectations at the IT Month consumer trading show in Taipei.