Sunday, October 31, 2010

Microvision: Announcement of OEM for High End Media Player with Embedded PicoP™ Projector

The question of an announcement, by Microvision, of the OEM for the HEMP is on everyone’s mind. Some of us feel this announcement is imminent; while others feel it could be delayed for CES 2011 in January.

Either way, it is important to understand the various generations of Microvision PicoP Display Engines that we have [or will have] floating around very shortly… and based on which one the OEM decides to embed in the HEMP could very well dictate the announcement date.

Here we go…

1st Generation PDEs: This is one that went inside the SHOWwx [Standard and the Limited Edition] units shipped in March 2010. Features include a native resolution of WVGA (848 X 480), ultra-simple plug-and-play use, fiddle-free infinite focus, very high-contrast ratio, and bright vivid colors generated from ultra-miniature laser light sources. Users simply connect the SHOWWX to any mobile device with TV or VGA out (iPod, laptop, etc.) and project DVD-quality images from a mobile device, up to 200" across, depending on the ambient light.

Here’s the link to the press release…

2nd Generation PDEs: Interestingly, on March 29th; Microvision announced the completion and shipment of initial samples of its new display engine that incorporates a proprietary ASIC chipset half the original size and weight and that consumes one third less power than its predecessor while delivering uniformly bright, vivid color WVGA (848 X 480) images up to 200 inches. It also provides a 5000:1 contrast ratio – 5 times greater than other pico projector engines in the market today and is always in focus without the need for focusing dials or optics – an especially desirable benefit for mobile consumers.

On April 5th; Microvision announced that it had received an $8.5 million purchase order for its new ultra-miniature PicoP laser projection display engine from a consumer electronics customer. The OEM plans to [in my opinion] embed this 2nd generation PicoP Display Engine inside the high-end mobile media player for release in late 2010 and plans to announce its launch at that time.

Here’s the link to the press release…

3rd Generation PDEs: On May 24th; Microvision unveiled the increased brightness 15-lumen 720p HD-ready laser pico projector demonstrator at The Society for Information Display Conference.

According to Microvision press release, the 720p HD-ready prototype pico projector outputs 15 lumens of brightness while still maintaining its compact, low profile form factor, very similar to Microvision's current WVGA product. The company plans a commercial product version of a 720p HD PicoP display engine in the second half of 2011. The new 720p, higher brightness prototype highlights the capability of PicoP technology to support new performance levels while still maintaining the compelling attributes of the existing PicoP platform, including:

• Infinite focus;
• Wide throw angle that offers an immersive visual experience;
• Superior brightness uniformity;
• High optical efficiency resulting in low power requirements;
• 5000:1 contrast ratio; and
• Vivid colors of up to 200% greater than standard broadcast television.

Here’s the link to the press release…

4th Generation PDEs: These 4th generation PDEs will have to wait till first generation diode green lasers become available in 2012. Initially, the first generation diode green lasers are expected to be expensive compared to possibly the 3rd generation SHG green lasers that may be around… but still may find their way into the 4th generation PDEs as premium modules with higher brightness and resolution with lower power needs.

5th Generation PDEs: These 5th generation PDEs are expected to find their way into millions of PicoP projector in 2013; when 2nd generation diode green lasers would have dropped dramatically in price and reached optimum performance and efficiency levels.

All that is great news but for now let’s get back to the question of the OEM for the HEMP?

In my opinion, there is always the possibility that the OEM may go with the 2nd generation PDEs, as originally announced, and launch the product tomorrow on November 1, 2010.

However, if the 3rd generation PDEs are available now, or will be available shortly, I would change my bet and go with the CES 2011 in January as the possible announcement date.

If we were to pay attention to Microvision press release of April 5th; we may have the surprise announcement at the 3rd Qtr earnings conference call at 4:30pm on November 1, 2010…

“The unidentified customer plans to embed the PicoP engine inside a high-end mobile media player for release in late 2010 and plans to announce its launch at that time."

We just have to wait and see!

Anant Goel