Thursday, October 1, 2009

Microvision Receives Purchase Order and Begins Shipping World's First Laser Pico Projector, SHOWwx

That's the news headline from this morning...

Here’s the link to the press release…

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090930005658&newsLang=en
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REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Microvision, Inc. (Nasdaq:MVIS), a global leader in innovative ultra-miniature projection display and image capture products for mobility applications announced today that it has received a purchase order from its Asian marketing and distribution partner and has begun shipments of its PicoP® display engine-based product, the SHOWWX™ laser pico projector. Microvision expects its distribution partner to unveil its go to market product plans shortly.

“We are delighted to announce that Microvision has commenced shipments this week of the SHOWWX laser pico projector, our first commercial product based on the proprietary PicoP display engine,” said Alexander Tokman, President and CEO of Microvision. “This is a historical milestone for Microvision, accented by a purchase order that firmly kicks-off the first sales for the SHOWWX.”

The SHOWWX is a simple plug-n-play pico projector for people on-the-go who want to spontaneously view and share multimedia applications and programs such as mobile TV, movies, photos, presentations and more. Users can take the pocket-sized projector anywhere, plug it into their portable media players, mobile phones, notebooks and other portable mobile media devices and share a big screen experience with friends, family or business associates. Depending on the ambient light, the projected images range in size from 12” to 150”. The SHOWWX uses the revolutionary laser-based PicoP display engine technology that delivers large, colorful, bright, and vivid images that are always in focus, regardless of projection distance.

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This news was expected and is the follow-up to the pre-launch announced, as commercial introduction, on September 15th…

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090915006111&newsLang=en

If you look at this press release from September 15th, it is interesting to note that there will [certainly] be more news coming in the next few days and weeks.  Just look at this statement in the press release…

“The Company plans to distribute its accessory pico projector product through three sales channels: OEM branded products, Microvision branded products sold through international distributors and Microvision direct sales through its on-line store. Microvision has signed several marketing and distribution agreements with international distributors in Asia and Europe to launch Microvision branded and private labeled versions of the laser pico projector. Microvision expects to begin product shipments in the next several weeks.”

Now look at news heading from today…

“Microvision Receives Purchase Order and Begins Shipping World's First Laser Pico Projector, SHOWwx”

That’s the news about “Microvision branded products sold through international distributors”. The next news items, as you can see, will be coming soon and most probably will announce…

• The names of OEMs for the “OEM branded products”. And I’m sure you will agree that OEM branded products could be SHOWwx with an OEM’s logo on it… or they could be as embedded PicoP in multitude of digital devices [like laptops, DVD players and mobile TV/projectors] where size and power is not an issue.

• The launch of Microvision branded products sold directly through its on-line store.

Also, there will be additional announcement on a regular basis, that is if you paid attention to what Alex Tokman [Microvision CEO] said at the Annual Stockholders Meeting:

“… that shipments would start about where they have and increase on a monthly basis with the big numbers happening early next year."

Think about it…

“… big numbers happing early next year”.

That sounds like quite a few more tier one OEMs making commitments between now and the early next year.

Today’s announcement of “purchase order” is a major milestone that has been accomplished, with-in the stated time frame by the management team. One thing is for sure, that over the last three years, Alex Tokman and his management team are making diligent effort to establish credibility with the investment community, and its supply chain partners, after the perpetual “product introduction next year” mantra of the past management.

"We are delighted to announce that Microvision has commenced shipments this week of the SHOWWX laser pico projector, our first commercial product based on the proprietary PicoP display engine," said Alexander Tokman, President and CEO of Microvision. "This is a historical milestone for Microvision, accented by a purchase order that firmly kicks-off the first sales for the SHOWWX."

First sale firmly kicked-off by a purchase order !

That’s great news, but to the disappointment of many stakeholders, it gives very little details about “who”, “what”, “price”, “quantities, etc. See what Barron’s Blog had to say…

“Microvision (MVIS), which makes ultra-small projectors for mobile applications, said this morning that it has received a purchase order from its Asian marketing and distribution partner and has begun shipments of its SHOWwx laser pico projector. The company said it expects its distribution partner “to unveil its go to market product plans shortly.”

“Despite the lack of details in the announcement - there’s nothing on the size of the order, or who the partner is - MVIS today is up 43 cents, or 8.4%, to $5.54.”

Here’s the link…

http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2009/09/30/microvision-spikes-gets-projector-purchase-order/

But then again, if you read the press release, or Barron’s Blog, carefully, it says:

“Microvision expects its distribution partner to unveil its go to market product plans shortly.”

In my opinion, that says it all and is good enough to wait for more news during the CEATEC conference in Tokyo next week from October 6-10, 2009.

After today’s announcement, we can be sure of a few things…

• Green Lasers from Corning are finally in commercial production, after having resolved all of the technical, production and cost issues of the recent past. Recently, DigiTimes interviewed Corning CEO, Wendell Weeks and this is what he [Corning CEO] had to say about their green lasers…

“Our green laser technology will enable mobile displays where the size of the image is no longer limited by the size of the device. Our green laser G-1000 device achieves high efficiency in a compact form with excellent beam quality and high bandwidth.”

“And finally, we have many new products in our innovation portfolio that continue Corning's tradition of solving tough customer problems and providing key benefits to users. Our synthetic green lasers will make it possible to project large, high-resolution images from portable devices like cell phones, giving consumers greater flexibility to interact with information. …”

Here’s the link to a long interview…

http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20090929PD209.html

• Asia Optical, Microvision’s supply chain partner, is in commercial production of PicoP display engines, PicoP Evaluation Kits (PEK), and the SHOWwx PicoP projectors.

• Enough green laser are being produced to full-fill the needs of the first “truck load” purchase order from the first International Marketing and Distribution partner.

• PicoP product quality, reliability, safety, and price point is acceptable to the first commercial buyer of a truck load… in a marketplace where there are other choices from the likes of TI with DLP and 3M with LcoS technologies.

In closing, I must re-state some of the things that you may have heard before…

Past Delays:
The past delays were not the fault of Microvision… but they were in securing the green laser supply pipeline. Also, the move from prototype to mass production unit had some speed bumps…and that is not unexpected.

Embedded PicoP:
Considering the past delays and progress made to-date, an embedded PicoP projector for cell phones by this Christmas won’t happen… next Christmas, maybe! But, what is real is that this thing will move forward, on its own timetable, and it will succeed. However, there are many other embedded solutions [like in laptops] may happen lot sooner. Expect to see embedded projectors in 2010, and eyewear is slated for 2011.

Product Launch:
The product launch strategy in the near term consists of three parts:

1. Private label marketing by third parties… where Microvision supplies the final product like SWOWwx to the OEMs and they slap on their own logo and use their own packaging. In such a scenario, the OEMs are expected to do their own warranty, service and support.

2. International distribution… presents a stronger market at present, as Asian and European countries take up new technology faster, and at better premiums prices than in the US. Also, the weak dollar makes American goods a compelling bargain to the foreigners. Today’s announcement about the first purchase order is all about “International Distribution”.

3. Microvision sells from their website… The motivating factor here seems to be the margins and more importantly… to prove to the large OEM players that Microvision has its supply chain in place and can mass produce a reliable product for the humongous market.

Major Player in the Imaging Market Place:
“Laser steering projector is the bread and butter of Microvision for the foreseeable future and we are going to focus on the embedded PicoP to make the company profitable.” These are believed to be the words of Alex Tokman?

“Microvision is positioning itself thru patents and IP to be a major player in the image community. He (Alex) said: “Microvision is not going to be a small component provider that can be marginalized by bigger players.”

Alex sees the company as an INTEL type company. He is going to make the company a player in the image industry. That explains the “Image by PicoP” as the slogan chosen for the world’s first laser based PicoP projector SHOWwx. Please read my post on…

Yes Virginia: “Its Intel Inside… but Image by PicoP.”

Here’s the link…

http://mirro7.blogspot.com/2009/09/yes-virginia-its-intel-inside-but-image.html

Alex mentioned a few things as to why he believes the product [PicoP display engine] is going to be successful…

• Uniqueness: nobody has lasers; nobody is doing what we are doing.

• Thin Form Factor: nobody has our size and nobody can do HD images without getting bigger.

• Longer Battery life: up to 2 hours currently vs. 45 minutes for the competition.

• Infinite focus: nobody else has it.

• Larger screen experience: from 12” to 150” diagonal under certain ambient light conditions.

• Superior small font readability: we are the only one that has 10 pt readable fonts.

• Uniformity of brightness: Images are uniformly bright from edge to edge, unlike some other competitors.

• No rainbow effect: like the LcoS panel based projectors.

• Twice the color gamut (range) of NTSC

• WVGA resolution: with sharper image detail and brightness

Corning and Osram [the two supply chain partners] are not only improving the laser light technology, but also its performance and price as well. The next generation of green laser and PicoP display engine will bear this out.

Mass production of laser lights and PicoP display engine is expected to be in early 2010.

That pretty much covers what I see in my notes. If I find something else, I’ll get back to you. Please feel free to comment.

Now remember what I said…

“Each announcement or news item, between now the middle of 2010-- when green lasers go into mass production, is accretive to the near term intrinsic value of Microvision for speculating on the future, its growth and the overall long term potential of the company at this early stage.”

In simple terms…

“Sooner or later, each announcement or news item will build upon the previous one.”

Anant Goel
http://www.wealthbyoptions.com/