Smartphones with embedded projects are nothing new. The Samsung Galaxy Beam was probably the better known attempt on the market but it didn't pan out for a number of reasons: added weight, battery life and picture quality would be the main ones.

Now STMicroelectronics wants to change all that with what it calls a "revolutionary laser-based MEMS mirror projection" technology.

We saw a prototype of a very small projector on display at the MWC 2014 expo in Barcelona.

Coming up by year's end

The product is about the size of a feature phone battery (i.e. tiny and thin, about 4mm thick). It is focus free and produces decent pictures of up to 20 inches diagonally.

Other details we managed to glean include 20 lumens brightness, a microHDMI and microUSB port, a 720p resolution, a power consumption of 1.6W (which on a 850mAh battery yielded two hours autonomy).

A spokesperson for STMicroelectronics confirmed that the projector technology will be embedded in smartphones later this year rather than being sold as a standalone product.

Also on the booth, other than the Black Phone from Boeing, was a self-powered Bluetooth Low Energy Multi-sensor that harvests the heat energy emitted by human body and looks like a smartwatch; if only it could be paired with an e-ink display.