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3M expects mini-projector debut this year; plans U.S. growth moves

Samsung will be the first manufacturer to use 3M's mini-projector, a component that the Maplewood-based manufacturer hopes will revolutionize the use of personal digital devices.

On display at the company's annual meeting in St. Paul today, the mini-projector can take an image from a cell phone, laptop computer or any electronic device, and project it on a large scale onto a wall or floor. The component itself is about the size of a matchbox.

"We're going to roll this out to commercialize and expand" the market for such products, said CEO George Buckley, told shareholders at the RiverCentre convention hall.

The mini projector is expected to hit the market later this year, though it's unclear whether that will be as a stand-alone handheld device, or within a Samsung product. The mini-projector is expected to cost in the $200 to $400 range.

Looking at present business conditions, Buckley said the U.S. economy "is not what we'd like it to be." He hinted at some new strategies to drive growth in the U.S. in the near term but didn't give details.

In the first quarter, 3M's comparable sales in the U.S. were down 2.8 percent, he said. The company's continuing growth in overseas markets continues to buoy overall sales, he said. International markets accounted for 63 percent of all 3M sales last year, and that figure will be at the 70 percent mark "in a few short years," he said.


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