Samsung’s Galaxy Beam Has Great Business Potential But Some Competition

Although Android has an overall lead over iOS in smartphone marketshare, there are IT departments that remain hesitant on the platform. Unlike the iPad and iPhone, which are beginning to be seen to be as business tools rather than consumer-oriented entertainment devices, most Android phones have yet to prove that they offer a business feature that can’t be found on other platforms. Samsung’s newly announced Galaxy Beam smartphone may be the first Android phone to solidly offer something powerful and unique for business users.

The Galaxy Beam is Samsung’s new handset that includes a 15-lumen pico projector. Although Samsung’s press release for the phone offering a lot of personal entertainment uses, this is a device that has clear business potential.

The Beam is one of the many devices being unveiled at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The device is expected to ship sometime in the first half of this year with Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

The Beam is capable of projecting any onscreen content in portrait or landscape mode, which can be toggled when the device is laying flat. It also includes an app for projecting Power Point presentations. The projector is capable of images up to 50 inches and Samsung claims that it offers up to three hours of continuous projector use. Based on demos from the show floor in Barcelona, the Beam actually outperforms many pico projectors.

The Beam contrasts sharply with a lot of the traditional presentation tools in that it’s light, always on hand, and requires no cables. The only real requirement is a bare surface to project onto. That makes a pretty compelling case for the device. The one challenge is that the integrated projector will drain the battery life of the phone itself, which makes a minor case for using a separate pico projector.

While there is clear business potential in the Beam, its success will probably hinge on price. If Samsung can make the Beam less expensive than the cost of a smartphone and pico projector, it will probably be a hit. If Samsung can make the price comparable to similar handsets, so much the better.

Where the Beam might see competition is from Brookstone’s iPhone case that include a built-in pico projector, which effectively create an Apple equivalent. The Beam could also see some competition from Apple in the form of an iPhone or iPad paired with an Apple TV, which is also  easy to setup provided there is an available HDTV or other display system that can accept HDMI.

For companies whose IT departments are still hesitant to support Android, this could make the Beam a harder sell. In the age of BYOD programs, however, there’s a good chance that business users and executives willing to purchase the Beam on their own (or share the cost) will have success in getting at least some buy-in from management or IT.