Sprint is taking two devices with questionable utility and mashing them together to create a hybrid pocket projector/mobile hotspot that might actually succeed at making an actual Voltron out of pieces from the spare-parts bin. The Sprint LivePro is a small device (4.7-inches by 4.7-inches, with a thickness of 1.1 inches) that offers a built-in 4-inch display with Android 4.2 for direct access to content, as well as an embedded speaker and a pico projector that can put out a virtual screen with a 10-foot diagonal.
The LivePro also manages to pack in a backup battery capable of charging your mobile devices, with 5,000mAh capacity to power both itself and your gadgets. It can act as a hotspot for up to eight Wi-Fi devices at the same time, and can connect to mobile devices via HDMI, USB or Wi-Fi Miracast. Audio can be transmitted via Bluetooth or 3.5mm out, but as mentioned above, it has its own speaker if you’re in a pinch.
Alone, the components of this device are somewhat niche or outdated – the mobile hotspot was once a veritable savior for mobile workers, but almost all phones at least offer the option to act as a hotspot and share their connection via either wired or wireless connection these days, without the need to carry around an extra kit. And while the pico projector seemed like a very promising device, solutions like AirPlay and the Chromecast have mostly rendered them edge case gadgets for the business crowd that might have found them useful.
ZTE Projector on stand back
ZTE Projector on stand left angle
ZTE Projector on stand left facing
Together, though, they might offer enough utility to make owning this in addition to a smartphone or tablet an actual good idea. The thing also costs nothing upfront, on a 24-month commitment that includes $18.75 in monthly payments for the hardware alone. Basically, if you feel the need to have one of these devices (either a mobile projector or a mobile hotspot), there’s probably no reason (short of network choice) not to just have the Sprint LivePro instead.
Does the combined value proposition of this hybrid gadget outweigh the dwindling usefulness of either of its component parts? That’s a question for the device sales charts of tomorrow.