Sunday, December 6, 2009

Microvision: Embedded Pico Projector Holy Grail (Part 2)

I just want to make it very clear that...

“I did not say that the embedded pico projector was not the big money play... because it is.”

However, the stand alone PicoP as an accessory is even bigger market. Anyone who ignores the accessory PicoP market is ignorant or just plain arrogant in my book. Intel did not differentiate between CPUs when they went after the market with their "Intel Inside" slogan.

What would "Image by PicoP" mean, if a large population of stand alone accessory pico projectors had someone else's display engine inside? It will be more show than substance, don't you think? Besides, you don’t concede a large segment of the market to the competition without a fight. It’s all in the mindset that oozes with resolve, a sense of ruthlessness and urgency… something missing, so it seems, at Microvision. I call Microvision management’s mindset as: “babes with muted enthusiasm”.

Here’s a comment from Warren at the Google group for Microvision...

“I, for one, would not buy an embedded smart phone and embedded dig camera and embedded laptop and embedded video camera. I would buy an embedded phone, but not all things embedded – at least not until the prices for embedded devices come down. In the short term, I would buy an SA PicoP for all those devices and, like I said, the embedded phone. But I am not everyone.”

Well said Warren... because many others have expressed the same very sentiment.

At times, I get over 1,000 hits a day at the blog followed by many e-mails... and the survey says exactly what you just said. From a year ago report that I published, I have access to hundreds that subscribed and they say [more or less] what you just said.

I play cricket in a New Jersey Cricket League, in a community of over 30,000 IT professionals. And over the years, and through my writings, they have been made quite aware of PicoP display technology and Microvision as the potential investment opportunity... they said [more or less] the same thing in essence.

So, there you have it... more or less that the sentiment of a large population survey, done for free over an 18 month period. Just because the survey did not cost Microvision a million or two... does not mean it holds no value or does not represent the sentiment of a significant number of potential customers of pico projectors.

I would not have written such a strong worded post unless I had some substantial basis... because I do.

Someone hiding behind their anonymous Yahoo ID said this at the message board for Microvision...

“Anant Goel, how is the SA market bigger than embedded? Let's see: Laptops, cameras, camcorders, cell phones and anything with a TV or VGA out will have embedded PicoP so tell me how the SA will be a bigger market than embedded.”

Here’s the short answer…

The competition will not let Microvision monopolize or corner the embedded market… period.

The competition will come-up with dozens of explanations as to why the embedded in every thing digital is not such a good idea… like total cost of ownership, compromised functionality of the host, complexity of the host device, lack of flexibility, limited resource sharing opportunities, higher probability of common mode failure that kicks the host out of operation and so on.

Also, the competition [especially DLP based PicoP] will push the stand alone accessory as a piggy back device that gives the best of both words… as a PicoP with all the benefits of ownership as a stand alone unit, but also with piggy back capability approaching almost embedded functionality. In other words, the competition will try hard to sell the masses with all benefits of PicoP as an accessory unit and in the process hope to overcome the shortcomings of their embedded display engine by offering a piggy back solution.

It could just work for the competition... considering the sheer number and size of some of the players competing for pico projection market share... and possible dominance.

Competition is larger not only in numbers but also in dollars that they can spend to make a plausible case for stand alone PicoP as a compelling alternative to an embedded one from Microvision... for a long time. And time is of essence... because more time it takes for embedded PicoP adoption.... the more time the competition has to find alternate technology to get around Microvision advantage.

For the sake of our investment in MVIS stock, I hope the Microvision management has the vision and foresight to embrace the stand alone PicoP as an accessory unit with the same passion as they have for embedded version.

Here’s little story about IBM that has made the history books…

I was among the first batch of authorized IBM PC Dealers in the US... in early 1979.

IBM never thought that PC would amount to much in their wildest dreams... until it was too late. There was total lack of vision [about the PC] among the pin stripped suit/white shirt stiffs. The top management did not have much interest in the PC business from the beginning to almost the end... and it showed at every middle management level.

Worldwide adoption of the PC shocked many at IBM and destroyed hundreds of promising careers. Lack of vision or arrogance to not admit a mistake in judgment, can be detrimental to the financial health of a small company... but not IBM because they are big and at the time they had other bigger fish [the services business] to fry.

I can write pages on this subject... but I'll not burden you with that now and here. However, I must say that Microvision brass better have vision to see the stand alone pico projector as a viable, durable and profitable product line that will be around, in one form or the other, for a long time.

A few more months delay to market may not hurt Microvision... but lack of vision, ignorance, arrogance or stubbornness would certainly do them in.

[PicoP is the registered trademark of Microvision for their pico projection display module/engine]

Anant Goel