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Cellular News: 50 Million Projectors Built into Phones by 2012

One of the newer innovations being discussed in the wireless arena are small micro or pico projectors designed for use with mobile devices. Companies from all over the world have announced plans to enter the miniature display market. With so many different parties willing to make such an investment in the idea of mobile projection, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the mobile industry will soon see many new devices that enable handsets to externally project images.

While many of the devices that were being showcased at the 2008 Mobile World Congress and Consumer Electronics Show may not quite be available, it seems apparent that they can easily see a release date by the end of this year. As further detailed in an upcoming market focus report from IMS Research, there are a few different methods for mobile projection: ranging from Texas Instruments use of millions of tiny mirrors to Microvision's single mirror approach to Light Blue Optics use of holographic laser lights. Each of these projectors is capable of displaying full color, vibrant images of a size that would be ideal for watching television or other types of visual multimedia for an extended period of time.

However, report analyst Femi Omoni commented, "In spite of the encouraging factors that accompany mobile projectors, they are still a separate gadget from the handset itself. Having to carry a device separate from the mobile phone completely goes against the gospel of convergence that most manufacturers and operators have been preaching for the past few years." He added, "Developers will have to consider how many consumers will be willing to carry around both a phone and a projector, especially when they have been encouraged to develop the habit of needing just one device?"

Despite the concerns, the future seems bright for mobile projectors. Upon initial release they will undoubtedly be marketed towards early adopters who will be less concerned with the perceived drawbacks of the projectors than they will be in the cool factor of having the latest mobile gadget. The lure of being able to properly utilize stored programming, visual multimedia and Mobile TV with their phones will further serve as incentive for many in this demographic.

Furthermore, the projector manufacturers are already hard at work on shrinking their inventions down even further to reach the point where they can be embedded in handsets and properly utilized as an additional, secondary screen. While the popularity of mobile projectors will probably be hampered until they can be embedded into handsets, there also seems to be little reason to doubt that mobile projectors will eventually become a major addition to the ever-growing list of features included (and expected) on smart and high-end feature phones.


Editor's Note: Click here for an article by Dave Lashmet that describes why Microvision is optimally positioned to be the leader in the embedded mobile projector space.

30 comments:

At February 26, 2008 at 8:54 AM Anonymous said...

This is all well and good. But, I don't understand how Microvision could let the stock tank for so long without giving any updates on progress or even reaffirming the previously-stated goals for 2008/2009. As a investor in MVIS for the last couple years, I am sorely disappointed with management at this point. I really thought Tokman was doing a good job, but no real company would allow people to manipulate their stock like they have. I am really disappointed.

 
At February 26, 2008 at 9:24 AM Ben said...

Thanks for writing. I would suggest that you contact ir@microvision.com and allow them to address any concerns or questions you may have.

 
At February 26, 2008 at 9:58 AM Anonymous said...

Ben;

That is not an option. I have emailed IR a couple of times and have been completely ignored. And my questions were the simple ones. Never asking anything that is confidential. I have seen many posts where IR has responded with a standard canned response. I can appreciate the fact that IR cannot divulge confidential information, but if they do not know the answers to the very basic questions that are NOT confidential, they should have the professional attitude to at least respond to the inquiry.

Here is an example. Dear Tiffany, you recently hired Dave Lashmet as a market analyst. Could you please give me his job description? No response. At least she could have replied with that is not for public consumption. Although I have no idea why it would be confidential.

Bottomline, IR is not always an option, even for the simple questions. Let alone the PPS questions.

 
At February 26, 2008 at 11:34 AM Ben said...

Fair comment, thanks for bringing it to my attention. Every inquiry deserves a response.

RE: Dave, I don't have his official job description but I can tell you that he is a great asset to Microvision and we are lucky to have him.

 
At February 26, 2008 at 2:21 PM Anonymous said...

Ben,
Is it correct that investor relations has been outsourced and is no longer a function that is performed by the company itself?

 
At February 26, 2008 at 3:29 PM Ben said...

No, we perform IR internally. Tiffany Bradford is our Investor Relations Specialist.
Thanks,
Ben

 
At February 26, 2008 at 3:57 PM Anonymous said...

I also have emailed IR many times. On one I got a canned reply 2 weeks later, on my most recent I got NOTHING. Here was my email on the 19th..

"Can I get some feedback as to how the presentation went at the 20th Annual OC Growth Stock Conference today.

I was very disappointed that MVIS did not have the presentation delivered via webcast, which I assume cost money. I had scheduled free time to attend to find out there was no webcast.
http://www.wsw.com/webcast/roth16/
"

Shawn

 
At February 26, 2008 at 6:46 PM Anonymous said...

Ben;

Alex runs a very efficient and tight ship. The one area that has not been in step since his arrival is IR.

It is/was my hope that one of the reasons Dave Lashmet was brought onboard, is to help in this department. Believe it or not, a great PR/IR department can help the PPS. And Dave has a great deal of experience in this area.

That is why I was inquiring about his job description. It was my hope that he would be involved, at the very least in a part time way with PR/IR. But I guess I was asking for to much. Usually that is the case when you get no response.

Cheers

J

 
At February 27, 2008 at 9:59 AM Anonymous said...

Ben;

Ok, I have just sent IR a new email requesting a job description for Dave Lashmet. Let's see if this time I get any response at all.

Cheers

J

 
At February 27, 2008 at 12:55 PM Anonymous said...

I too have sent IR some questions over the last several months without any getting replies. Not even a reply to say that they cannot answer for some reason or other. I am not pleased, and it reflects poorly on Microvision IMO.

-Howard

 
At February 27, 2008 at 2:31 PM Anonymous said...

Well at least I am happy to see I am not the only one that has been ignored over the past year. Perhaps with all this feedback on this topic to Ben will lead to: someone needs to review maybe corporate spam filter on ir@microvision.com or simply provide a web based form or have ir@microvision.com forwarded to upper management as well as Tiffany Bradford so someone can review her work product. I don’t want to beat up Tiffany, I’m sure she does a great job and is very busy, but there seems to be a bottle neck somewhere.

 
At February 27, 2008 at 5:20 PM Anonymous said...

Ben,
Looks like TI is on the verge of introducing their Picop -

Taiwan-based Young Optics to start shipping pico-projectors in Q2-Q3 2008

Young Optics

We're all eagerly waiting to see the first pico-projector equipped mobile phones hitting the store shelves. Not many handset makers said we'll see the first such devices start selling this year. However, Young Optics announced it is expecting to begin shipping its pico-projector by the end of second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter.

That sounds as a good news in my book. Finally we have a bit more specific time frame. Not that any handset makers has confirmed anything more than "we're working on it" at this stage, but the way things are progressing maybe we'll actually see the first models being (at least) announced and briefly demoed this year.

In case you care to know, Taiwan-based Young Optics is using Texas Instruments' technology and LED lighting, which we've already seen demoed. Now the ball's in handset makers' court. Please folks make this happen. You know we want this desperately.

 
At February 28, 2008 at 9:21 AM Anonymous said...

Ben

Since I have been a bit critical of the lack of responses from the IR department of Microvision, I feel that it is only fair to let you know that this week, I did receive a brief response from Tiffany today.

That has to be a step in the right direction. And thank you Tiffany.

J

 
At February 29, 2008 at 3:57 PM KD said...

Hi Ben,
I have a quick question about the eyewear. What happens to people with bad/imperfect vision, can people with far sightedness or near sightedness still see the image normally? Can vision problems prevent people from using eyewear?
thanks.

 
At March 2, 2008 at 6:34 PM Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,

just wanted to let you know I have continued to build a position in MVIS all along over the last two years! I'm just a "little guy" investor, but your blog and that research paper you posted 2 years ago made me believe in MVIS. The largest testimony to MVIS' imminent success is the fact that you, after years of researching the company, have staked your career and savings in the company, and now after a year of working there are as firmly committed as ever to continuing your work. Good for you in following your dream, and know that I too am committed to your dream!

-steckerdad

 
At March 2, 2008 at 7:02 PM Ben said...

Steckerdad --

Thank you! Your note means a lot.

Ben

 
At March 3, 2008 at 11:23 AM Anonymous said...

Hi Steckerdad/ben,
What research paper are you guys talking about?
thanks.

" but your blog and that research paper you posted 2 years ago made me believe in MVIS"

 
At March 3, 2008 at 5:52 PM Anonymous said...

It was actually a teaser from a stock advisory service.. outlining MVIS as the opportunity to get a 30 bagger in the tech industry. I didn't want to sign up for the newsletter, but some googling led me right to this site where Ben had posted the teaser. This was before the "thin-mint" prototype. I bought a few thousand shares at $1.50 and have been adding ever since. Looking back at how little solid proof there was of anything 2 years ago (other than a great idea and a new CEO), all of the events since that time have left little doubt of the success we are heading for. All that is left is actually seeing "MVIS inside" on store shelves and having the curtains pulled back on who our strategic partners are.

-steckerdad

 
At March 4, 2008 at 2:47 PM Anonymous said...

"Microvision is optimally positioned to be the leader in the embedded mobile projector space."

If that is the case, why has the share price fallen from 55% from CES??

 
At March 4, 2008 at 4:47 PM Anonymous said...

Try emailing IR, I'm sure they will reply to your question next year after the competitors have released their products. Sorry Ben, I am just starting to lose the faith. Magic projector or not. All the hype and half baked news over the past two years. I am getting tired of it and so is my portfolio. Face it, investors invest for one reason to make money. MVIS share price it going nowhere. How is MVIS even paying the bills? There better be some wonderful real news on Thursday besides “Hey we got this great deal cooking… Can’t tell you!” or I think MVIS will lose many shareholders.

 
At March 4, 2008 at 5:18 PM Anonymous said...

Yes I concur with the comments above, left here by disgruntled investors of Microvision.

Whilst senor management of the company may or may not be doing a quality job operationally - how would we know? Where criticism of Microvision's senor management can be justifiably directed is their lack of communication with their investors on substantive issues. What I fail to understand, is why we are left in a situation where we get more useful information from listening to a Corning (GLW) CC than anything we receive from Microvision itself. Microvision's new "Show" accessory projector was on display at the recent Corning CC, and Dr. Joseph A. Miller, Corning's Chief Technology Officer stated that, "Corning’s green laser is in development with three major handset makers and two microprojector manufacturers". Microvision was the only company named directly in the CC and the quote above in context inferred that the 3 major handset makers and two microprojector manufacturers Corning is developing green lasers for are in fact clients of Microvision.

Although it is obvious that Microvision has NDA's in place with specific client companies which would be standard operating procedure. There doesn't seem to be an obvious explanation as to why Corning can state that, "Corning's green laser is in development with three major handset makers and two microprojector manufacturers", and why Microvision can't make a similar statement if in fact these green lasers are ultimately destined for integration into Microvision products which are in turn sold on to handset makers and microprojector manufacturers! I have no expectation of Microvision specifically naming company's with whom they have development contracts prior to the disclosure terms of those contracts having been met. However I can't understand why the company can't make more general statements stating how many handset makers, microprojector manufacturers they currently have development projects with.

It is certainly my view that Microvision's investors are entitled to a clear statement of the number clients with whom Microvision has ongoing projects.

 
At March 4, 2008 at 5:34 PM Anonymous said...

Wow, can you write all my comments. Thanks for backing me up! You could not have hit the nail any more perfectly.

Ben, I’m sure you did not start this Blog for investors, but to educate and share technology news and trends. You can see from all the posts over the past two months share holders are flocking to your blog because they don’t get it anywhere else (except in the bedroom, well not me.. but lets not go there). Does anyone besides you at MVIS read your blog?

 
At March 4, 2008 at 5:45 PM Ben said...

Guys,

I appreciate all your comments and I would encourage you all to call in to the upcoming conference call on Thursday and put your questions and comments to our management directly.

Thanks,
Ben

 
At March 4, 2008 at 10:04 PM Anonymous said...

"the 3 major handset makers and two microprojector manufacturers Corning is developing green lasers for are in fact clients of Microvision."

has got to be pure nonsense. 'Two microprojector manufacturers' means exactly that - MVIS and one other. Hence the silence from MVIS.

 
At March 5, 2008 at 10:44 AM Anonymous said...

Ben;

Surely you do not believe that Tokman and Wilson are going to allow a bunch of individual shareholders to jump on the line and start asking questions? Talk about the inmates running the prison. The call would turn into a carnival scene. Tokman would eventually be challenged in a way that he could only be non-responsive.

Ben, I have read your blog for years and have found it to be a great source for information. But we both know that when you became an employee, the blog changed hands, and now belongs to Microvision. Understandable. Your responses here now need to be measured and appropriate of managements position. Again, understandable. However, you and management have lost sight of the individual investors. To simply say, "send IR an email with your concerns" or "call into the conference call and ask your questions of management" is not the real world. You are being very naive or you are thinking we are very naive. Perhaps we are the ones, since we are still believing in MVIS and riding it down down down.

I have no doubt that the PPS is going to take a hit tomorrow or on Friday. As you have heard above, the little guy is bailing out if the news is the same old stuff we already know. I have a substantial position 10's of thousands of shares, and I will be cutting my position by 75% tomorrow or Friday. And I know I have no choice, because management is not listening to the little guy.

J

 
At March 6, 2008 at 7:05 AM leigh said...

I have learned that the PicoP has and has always had unsolvable problems with overheating batteries and the glue that cannot hold them in place. I believe this information to be credible. I am faced with the proposition of selling my shares at less than .5 their original value or losing my entire investment. So it goes. Investing is a gamble. But the commentaries regarding Microvision's refusal to communicate with investors is dead on. It now appears to have been a shell game from the begining.

 
At March 6, 2008 at 8:10 AM Ben said...

Leigh, there is no truth to this whatsoever.

 
At March 6, 2008 at 8:38 AM Anonymous said...

"I have learned that the PicoP has and has always had unsolvable problems with overheating batteries and the glue that cannot hold them in place. I believe this information to be credible."

If this was true all the engineers at Motorola, Visteon, General Dynamics and so on would be the biggest idiots on earth. Also the ROV product would not exist. Think about that.

Len

 
At March 6, 2008 at 9:37 AM leigh said...

I don't think motorola, visteon, or GD have put any more cash into MVIS than I have. I would be as happy as anybody for this not to be true. TI, MMM, and Corning have pulled out to sea and MVIS' rowboat is leaking. But like another poster wrote, Microvision's investors are entitled to a clear statement. IR doesn't answer its mail, what happened in Barcelona, and what happened to the helicopter, tank, aircraft heads-up displays? Okay, nobody in the tech sector is doing much and the NASDAQ is in free fall, but if MVIS wants to be a big player, it's got to play like one. Ben, my information is absolutely accurate contemporary to last fall.

 
At March 6, 2008 at 12:19 PM Anonymous said...

leigh,

I listened in to the Corning CC and Corning said (laser micro projectors are far superior to all others especially scanned laser projectors)! With that comment Corning went on to say they had the "SHOW" projector in the room for all to see. Now you might be right Corning is going out to sea but they are using the picoP display engine to power the voyage. You better do some more DD and stop listing to little birdies.

Len

 

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