Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Microvision: US Launch of SHOWwx in Late March or Early April

That’s the rumor up and down the supply chain.

Currently, so it seems, the emphasis is on shipping everything to full fill back orders from the existing customers… such as Mint Wireless, Uniden and Vodafone.

SHOWwx shipments in 2009 were very small and the quantities shipped blatantly fly foul in the face of publicly stated [or projected] quantities that we were made to believe. I don’t know how AT plans on covering his tracks to justify grossly misstated projections for quantities… but then again, he doesn’t have to because projections are just that─ projections.

I wish Microvision management comes clean with whatever it is; or was; or was said or done… just get-on with business at hand and move forward from this day onwards.

Anant Goel

Microvision: Cleaning House in the Midnight Shuffle

Last year it was Greg Olsen and this year it is Russell Hannigan… the two high profile managers that have left Microvision in the recent months.

Greg Olsen was Global Marketing Manager at Microviion. He left Micovision in July of 2009 and is now a Principal at “Delightability”… a privately held Management Consulting firm.

Russell Hannigan was, until recently, the Director of Product Management, Consumer Projection Displays at Microvision. He left Microvision in November of 2009 and is now Director of Business Development at Intellectual Ventures… a privately held Venture Capital firm.

Heads are rolling left and right... or is it just the midnight shuffle?

Hard to say for now; so just stay tuned to wait and see what develops in the next few weeks.

However, its about time that overhead was trimmed to reflect the current shape and state of affairs at Microvision.

Here’s some more on the midnight shuffle…

• Ted Phelps is the new “Senior Commodity Manager” since November 2008. He comes from Jabil Circuits.

• Bill Richardson is the new “Program Manager Product Development” since January 2010. He comes from IDD Aerospace.

• Bill Becker is the new “Dirctor of Sales and Marketing Operations” since July 2009. He was promoted from his old job as the Global Business Manager, Barcode Solutions Business Unit at Microvision.

• Michael Herr is the new “Managing Director of Business Development” since early 2007. He is a freshly minted graduate of Damelin College… so it seems.

• Perry Mulligan is new on the Board of Directors since January 2010. He is currently Senior Vice President, Operations for QLogic, where he is responsible for all aspects of the manufacturing and delivery of products to the customer in addition to overall supply chain design and manufacturing strategy. Prior to QLogic, he was at Solectron where he held the position of Senior Vice President Supply Chain Management and Chief Procurement Officer and was responsible for establishing the overall materials and supply chain strategy.

Well, there are a few more up and down the line with some fancy job titles.

Anant Goel

Friday, February 19, 2010

Microvision: You have to Earn Investor Respect

Today is 19th of February and there is no word from Microvision about the March 2010 launch of SHOWwx in the US.

Will this be another missed time line from Microvision?

Perhaps not... but the launch, if it does happen in March, may be nothing more than a token launch at best.

Unless my information is completely out of touch with reality, it seems that the problem may still be the green laser supply from Corning and Osram. I know that quantities are still limited, but don’t you think the management should atleast have the web site, for on-line sales of SHOWwx, up and running by now. At the very least, thousands of VIPs should have heard from Microvision by this time... that is, if the March launch is still on.

It will be interesting to see how Microvision management handles another “token launch” this time around. It has been a very frustrating two and half years now... waiting on green lasers on one hand and some transparency from the management on the other. The patience is running thin... and the well of goodwill and respect for this management is running dry.

Respect takes a long time to build and it's easily destroyed... especially after two and half years of patiently waiting for some straight answers.

When it comes to calculating asset value of a company there are three elements to consider...

• Physical,

• Financial,

• Reputation.

Yes, reputation of a company plays an important role among the Investor community as they pay up for respect, in part because respected companies tend to hold their value longer.

"Respected companies aren't going to fall as far in the bad times, and they come back better," says David Hartzell of Cornell Capital Management.

Defining respect isn't easy. "It's a difficult concept”.

However, there are surveys that clearly show...

“Respected companies have strong management, good governance, valuable products and services, and strong stock returns. They treat their shareholders, customers and employees well. They act ethically. And while some money managers name respect as the first cut in their investment process, others say respect is more often the result of a sound investment process.”

John Roberts, a portfolio manager with Denver Investments, contends that respect answers the question "Is management going to be a good steward of our clients' money?

Over the last two years, Microvision management has done very little to earn the respect from retail and institutional investors... as evident by roller-coaster ride experienced with Microvision stock over this two year period.

Here’s the link to the stock chart...

It is sad but what can I say; other than...

“Microvision: You have to Earn Investor Respect”

Anant Goel

[Suggested read, reference article on: “The World's Most Respected Companies” at]...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Microvision: Missing from Mobile World Congress meet in Barcelona – February 15-18, 2010

Mobile World Congress is being held in Barcelona [Spain] from February 15-18, 2010.

Here’s the link...

Last year, Microvision was there as one of the exhibitors and got some very good reviews for its laser based PicoP projector SHOWwx...

However, this year Microvision is not at the Mobile World Congress meet.

Do you know why?

That’s right... because Vodafone is there as one of the sponsor of this event. And Vodafone is Microvision’s first Mobile Phone Carrier customer.

Here’s the link to the post on this subject...

Looks like things are finally coming together as they should be; at this stage of product launch.

Anant Goel

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Microvision: SHOWwx Grabs [and some more] Macworld Expo 2010 “Best of Show” Award

That’s right... we got it... we’re not hot...  we’re so cool.

But first, let’s get the “... Macworld Expo 2010 Best of Show Award” part out of the way.

In the words of Matt Nichols of Microvision; comes the first coverage of his exciting news at the company’s blog site The Displayground...

Microvision’s SHOWwx Grabs Macworld Expo 2010 “Best of Show” Award
February 12th, 2010
by Matt Nichols

The New Year may be young, but SHOWWX already has earned three big industry awards in 2010, we’re proud to report.

In addition to the Last Gadget Standing and Innovation awards at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, SHOWWX took away top honors as a “Best of Show” winner at the Macworld 2010 conference this week at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Estimated attendance is in the 30K+ range by the show organizers. So, while attendance may be down from the high a few years ago, this is still a very active show. The Macworld Best of Show awards, selected by the editors of Macworld, are given to the best products, innovations and upgrades.

Only a few companies — Microvision among them — were chosen to spotlight award-winning products on the Main Stage during “Macworld DEMO: Best of Show.” This was a feature presentation for conference attendees, in front of about 1,000 people on Thursday morning. Myself, Ben Averch and Nick Andron gave the SHOWWX pitch and demo on stage. It was exhilarating to listen to the ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ of delight from the audience when we turned the projector on! Here’s just one of the many blogs about the event, entitled: Six Products To Watch From MacWorld.

Active link:

It’s also been very busy in the Microvision booth during the first day of the exhibitions, and many conference attendees are excited to hear that the product is planned to arrive in the U.S. for distribution in the March time frame.

If you are in the San Francisco area, come visit us at booth #1486.

Here’s the link...

Now let’s look at a few facts to see what this Macworld Expo 2010 “Best of Show” award means to Microvision...

• There are over 120 million Apple users worldwide... 20+ million Mac users... 100+ million iPod and iPhone users. Not only that, Mac and Apple consumer product owners tend to very devoted to Apple; unlike the PC product owners that are very fragmented just like the PC industry itself. Remember, there is only one Apple whereas there are thousands of PC manufactures of all shape and sizes. So, when you grab the “Best of Show” at Macworld Expo 2010, you surly are going to get some serious attention, sooner or later, from the Apple user community worldwide. Millions of those from the Apple cult will become buyers of SHOWwx and quite possibly also become the investors of Microvision stock MVIS.

• Millions of Apple user eyeballs get the opportunity to see what makes laser based PicoP projector a compelling companion product for the iPod, iPhone, iPad and the Mac. Immediate attention that SHOWwx receives during the MacWorld Expo 2010 will be nothing compared to the slow sizzle that would spread throughout the Apple user community in the months to come. This is just the beginning, wait till we get to the embedded PicoP Display Engine part in 2nd Qtr of 2010 with dozens of applications catering to the worldwide Apple user community. It will be a real sizzler!

• For those Apple users that may be somewhat familiar with pico projectors, it could mean a wake-up call to SHOWwx as a better choice pico projector compared to other technologies currently being offered.

Microvision Stock Reacts Positively to the News:
We saw the immediate stock price reaction to this news, in the form of new investors taking long position in MVIS stock, about the same time [11:40 am PST or 2:40pm EST] when Microvision got its turn to make the of SHOWwx presentation to the 1,000 or so present at the live Expo 2010 Main Stage.

“At about 2:40 pm EST [11:40 am PST] MVIS stock moved very quickly from $2.07 to $2.22 and closed the day at $2.24... the new high for the day."

Here’s the link to the stock chart...

This is the part that most of us may or may not realize...

The next day on Friday, following the “Best of Show” award on Thursday, the MVIS stock kept moving higher... while the rest of the market stayed down over 100 pts on the Dow most of the day. At the end of the day, MVIS closed at $2.55... that’s 31 cents higher on the day while the rest of the market closed lower.

The MacWorld Expo continues for another day on Saturday. Then on Monday, it’s a holiday for President’s Day. In other words, there is much more pent-up demand building for MVIS stock during the long weekend of due diligence from thousands of Apple devotees. Tuesday, when the market opens, it will be a very interesting day for the long investors of Microvision stock.

Microvision stock is an opportunity of a lifetime in our lifetime.

Here’s the link to part 5 of the story...

[Warning: There are four more parts to this story. I know brevity is a virtue... but I didn’t learn that lesson until recently]

Once this “opportunity of a lifetime...” part sinks-in the minds of thousands of Apple investors and consumers, we could see the MVIS stock move back-up to its glory days of over $3.28 in the next few days.

Also, there is confluence of evidence that Microvision will launch its laser based PicoP projector SHOWwx in the US market sometime in the month of March. It is also evident that SHOWwx will be sold directly from Microvision website... perhaps as an addendum to the existing corporate web site currently at...

Over the last few days, there have been several favorable [to Microvision] news events and they are worthy of mention.... and that will be the subject of my next post.

Enjoy the recovery because it is sustainable; and is a clear skies evidence of superior PicoP technology that not only validates Microvision’s business model but is also a prerequisite to becoming a true financial success.

Anant Goel

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Microvision: What to Expect At SID 2010

Society of Information Display (SID) expo starts on May 25th, 2010.

That’s about four months away and the supply chain partners of Microvision are expected to further enhance the green laser technology during this period... and that should put further distance between the competition and Microvision offering.

In January of 2008, an excellent article from EETimes undisputedly confirmed that Microvision has the best PicoP technology for any application where the image size, image resolution, pico display engine module size, power requirement, auto-focus and cost matters. It was expected that as the time goes on, Microvision technology will further mature in-line with maturing market [and increasing adoption rates] and all these differentiating features will only get better... while the cost comes down dramatically as the economy of scale is reached with green lasers.

In the future, hopefully by the SID 2010 in May, I expect to see…

• Longer life and reliable MEMS chip.
• Higher resolution that’s better than the current 848x480 pixels… by decreasing the pixel size and increasing the scan frequency of the MEMS chip.
• Brighter pictures [going from 10 lumen to 20 lumen]… by using more powerful laser light modules from Corning and Osram. Both Corning and Osram have an ultimate target of over 28 lumens for their green lasers.
• Reduced power requirements [for the embedded PDEs] by further optimizing the ASIC, and the RGB lasers on/off cycle etc.
• Brighter and larger image size [over 100 inches diagonal] that is always in focus... an inherent feature of the RGB lasers.
• Cost of PicoP Display Engine to about $190 [including cost of bill of materials, assembly and supply chain profit mark-ups]… as a result of economy of scale.

These are some powerful statements and I will try to explain…

First, here’s the link to EETimes article that is perhaps the best [and most comprehensive] article I have seen so far…

Here’re my observations from the EETimes article …

Competing Technologies:
There are essentially three competing technologies: FLCOS panel based [Displaytech, LBO], LCOS micro-display based [3M] and MEMS chips based [TI and Microvision]. However, the two front runner technologies remain the LCOS panels based and the MEMS chips based.

Market Leader Standalone Pico Projector:
Displaytech [and its OEMs like iView, and LBO] and 3M are competing in LCOS panels based Pico Projector direction that may be good for the standalone market but certainly is not ready for the embedded version… due to size, image size, image quality, power requirement, heat generation, and auto focus issues. 3M and Displaytech are head to head in this space and may have [a perceived] cost advantage at this stage. However, you must note Displaytech’s claim: “that a complete pico-projector subsystem, including the FLCOS panel, red-, green- and blue-LEDs, optical lenses and packaging, has a bill of material of less than $100” is misleading. When you include the cost of assembly [by the integrator] and profit mark-ups, this cost to the OEMs is more like $160. 3M may have a price advantage over Displaytech in the standalone Pico Display Engine cost to OEMs.

Texas Instruments and Microvision are competing in the standalone space with their MEMS chips based Pico Projector. Today, Microvision is the un-disputed leader in this space [with quality image, large image size, small PDE module size, low power, zero waste heat and always-in-focus] and when they do release the production PDEs for the OEM market [in the 2nd Qtr of 2010], I can assure you the cost to OEMs may be in the $170 to $190 range.

Microvision’s standalone PicoP projector SHOWwx is scheduled to be released in the US market in March of 2010. At the CES 2010, there were several units on display projecting great images in real time from an iPod… for you to touch and feel. None of the competitors was at the CES 2010 and had nothing close to SHOWwx on display… in quality or for you to touch and feel. 3M and TI showed you their Pico Projector… but did you see it projecting real video or held it in your hand. How about that sleigh of the hand focus by the TI and 3M representative?

The microdisplay vendors like Displaytech and 3M; and the MEMS micromirror companies like Texas Instrument and Microvision; are headed in two different directions. Displaytech and 3M solution uses cheap and readily available LEDs and a low-cost liquid-crystal-on-silicon panel, but companies have been manufacturing LCOS panels for years and their solution will look comparatively power hungry and expensive as time goes by. Whereas, both Texas Instrument's and Microvision's MEMS micromirror chips will become smaller, cheaper and lower power in the future, but might not look as attractive to OEMs today. Of the micromirror solutions, Microvision's MEMS solution will be the smallest, lowest power and cheapest approach, because it uses a single MEMS micromirror, but today it depends on relatively expensive green laser. Texas Instruments DLP, on the other hand, is a little bigger, more expensive and higher power today, since it uses hundreds of thousand of micromirrors, but it produces relatively good images and is readily available. However, one desirable and differentiating aspect of Microvision’s PicoP Display Engine is the always-in-focus feature that no other pico projector has.

Market Leader Embedded Pico Projector:
Today, Microvision is the un-disputed leader in the embedded PicoP space [with quality image, small size, low power, zero waste heat, auto-focus and cost] and when they do release the PicoP Display Engines for the embedded market [in the 2nd Qtr of 2010], I can assure you the cost to OEMs may be in the $170 to $190 range initially... and going lower from there.

When it comes to the embedded PDEs; the unit size, power required, image quality, image size, auto-focus and cost are all important. When Microvision is ready to release the PDEs for the embedded market [in 2nd Qtr of 2010]…

• the module size will be less than 7mm,
• the power required will be less than 1.5 watts,
• the image size will be from 12” to over 100”,
• the resolution will be the current 848x480 pixels,
• the brightness will be better than the 10 lumen today,
• the projected image will always be in focus,
• and the cost to OEMs [like Motorola] is expected to be in the $170 to $190 range… and going down as the production/adoption rate increase in 2011.

In the embedded market space, I don’t see any of the competitors coming close to Microvision in this race… not even Taxes Instruments with their power guzzling million-micromirrors based Pico Projector. The likes of 3M and Displaytech will never get down to acceptable levels of size, power, waste heat, auto-focus and cost requirements… as they will have the “gating issues”. Pico Projectors that use million micromirrors or LCOS panels [with lenses and optics] just can’t cut the mustard in terms of physical size, power, waste heat, auto-focus and cost.

I’m sure there will be many players in the pico projection space... Displaytech with FLCOS, 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 PicoP Display Engine will lead the 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) in the standalone version will make the competition at par with Microvision’s SHOWwx... 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?

Microvision’s PicoP Display Engine produces virtually zero heat due to lasers being used as the light source and also due to on/off switching of lasers during dark image segments. Competing pico projection technologies of others produce enough waste heat to cook eggs... sunny side up for sure.

• “A wide angle view means that Microvision’s PDE can show a wider screen at closer distance!” This is a very important differentiation as compared to the “rest” in the market. With Microvision's PDE 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 PicoP Display Engines 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.

• Microvision’s PDE 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 PicoP Display Engine do not have that problem and as such projected images will always be brighter and sharper.

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

• Microvision’s PDE projects bright and vivid color with 5000:1 contrast ratio.

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

• Microvision’s PDE 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 [and PDEs for embedded applications] with 20 lumens of brightness and HD resolution.

My money is riding on Microvision.

Anant Goel