Thursday, November 12, 2009

Microvision: You Have Competition [Updated]

November 12 2009

I’m sure there will be many players in the pico projection "standalone" space... 3M with LcoS and TI with DLP technologies.

However, no matter how you slice-it or dice-it, Microvision has, in my opinion, no competition in the laser based “embedded” pico projection space... not TI… and certainly not 3M.

Microvision’s laser pico pojector SHOWwx could still lead the “standalone” rat pack because of the following:

• Small form factor that allows room to add additional built-in functionality. The competition starts-out big and can only get bigger.

• Power consumption will always be the differentiating factor. Two to three hours of use between battery charges is always more desirable than the ones that last an hour or less. Extra power pack(s) will make SHOWwx at par with competition... but there is a high probability that the user will opt for longer run on batteries. How often do you remember scrambling for a power pack when you need one?

• “A wide angle view means that SHOWwx can show a wider screen at closer distant!” This is a very important differentiation as compared to the “rest” in the market. With Microvision's SHOWwx you get…

“A wider image [60 inch from 5 feet away, for example] from a close distance… the image is brighter and sharper… colors are more vibrant… and the image is always in focus”.

• Laser based pico projectors like SHOWwx will always have projected image in focus… regardless of the distance [from the screen] or mobility of the projector itself. Try focusing a projector every time you move [with the projector] or change the distance from the screen to change the size of the image.

• SHOWwx has better image quality and is sharper [per lumen] as compared to other projectors using “diffused” light sources the competition is using. The use of diffused light source, like lamps or LED, causes the “torch effect”… where the image is brighter in the center with darker outside.

• One other problem the panel display based pico projectors have is the black outline for each pixel that shows up in their images. Laser based pico projectors like SHOWwx do not have that problem and as such projected images will always be brighter and sharper.

• Microvision’s SHOWwx can go from 12inch to 200inch diagonal image size. None of the competitor has [so far] been able to match what Microvision is offering.

• SHOWwx projects bright and vivid color with 5000:1 contrast ratio.

• SHOWwx projects bright and vivid color images without motion blur because of its inherent fast refresh feature from laser light source.

• SHOWwx has better resolution [at 848x480] as compared to the competing technologies from 3M and TI.

• Microvision’s PicoP display engine is progressing nicely on upwards pathway to higher brightness of 20 lumens using the second generation green laser G-2000 from Corning.  After the CEATEC 2009 expo, engadget had this to say about the first generation SHOWwx…

"We stopped at Microvision booth at CEATEC in order to take a look at what makes the world's first laser based pico projector so special and we can honestly say that the picture was pretty stunning."

Here’s the link engadget report…

Now just imagine what their comments would be like when they see the second generation SHOWwx with 20 lumens of brightness and HD resolution.

Microvision will be demonstrating several integrated product(s) at the CES 2010 expo in January and have signed-up a few major players to evaluate commercial PEKs.  Competition, like 3M and TI, have their LED based pico projectors on the market for over six months… but they are not selling too well… and their prices keep coming down almost every month.

However, Pico projector market is just developing and is expected to take-off in 2010…

Competition is good and will help with faster adoption of pico projectors by the billion plus unit market. To be a huge financial success, Microvision needs only a small percentage of the overall market that finally adopts the technology.

My money continues to be on Microvision.

However, I am keeping an eye on the competition… including TI, 3M, Syndiant and host of others that have joined in the foray.

Anant Goel