Back in January, at the CES trade show in Las Vegas, ZTE showed off what it called the Projector Hotspot, a multi-function device that served as a mobile hotspot, mini projector, back-up battery, and stand-alone media streamer. Fast-forward six months and the Projector Hotspot is being rechristened as the Sprint LivePro, available this Friday in Sprint stores across the country.
The $449.99 LivePro retains all of the functionality of the Projector Hotspot — the 10-foot projector, mobile hotspot capability, and 5,000mAh battery — and adds support for Sprint's 3G and LTE networks. It has its own 4-inch touchscreen and runs Android 4.2, so it's possible to load apps and browse the web right on the device itself. Alternatively, another Android smartphone can be used as a remote for the projector, serving photos, videos, and other media to it wirelessly. The LivePro also features an HDMI port for hookup to an external display, and it's possible to recharge another device with its internal battery. The device has a built-in speaker, and it includes a standard headphone jack for plugging in other speakers.
The unit itself is a familiar-looking rounded rectangle that doesn't seem too different from an Apple TV. It is both thicker and heavier than Apple's media box, however, measuring 1.1 inches thick and weighing 14.1 ounces. That's considerably bigger and heavier than any other mobile hotspot you can purchase, but no other mobile hotspot has a projector and runs the full Android operating system.
Sprint is hoping that mobile business professionals will find the LivePro's unique combination of connectivity and a projector to be useful while on the road, but we could easily see it providing entertainment during our next camping trip or functioning as an impromptu movie projector at a summer block party. If only it could make us popcorn, too.