DataSpeedInc Describes Creating MVIS LIDAR Jeep

The Power of Text

I think a lot of MVIS investors as well as people at MVIS think that in order to go after consumers, we need to provide full color displays. I believe that this is a mistaken notion. If we can create a display that has an attractive form factor, long battery life and serves an immediately useful purpose, there is no reason why monochrome red would not be perfectly adequate for an initial consumer eyeglass display.

Obviously, full color would be best. But the important thing to consider is not that consumers are used to full color on their desktop monitors -- but rather that we are introducing a new paradigm for computing, which is mobile, context-sensitive computing. The real world and your place in it is your context. A bunch of URLs that you visit and then click off of do not respect your context. They are static places that serve their function when they are visited and are waiting for your return.

The web will move from the concept of web sites to the pervasive information overlay that I've described a few times. The development of an information overlay is hugely computer intensive. You need data about a person, where they are, what they're looking at, what they're trying to accomplish. It will be a monumental task to provide meaningful information out of all this data. A critically important factor to consider is how much more information can be relayed via text vs. images or video. Google has built an empire on delivery of text information. Billions and billions of dollars are spent annually on Google AdWords.

Text is everything. Google says "the bit rate on text is very fast". And that's what we need to be concerned about. How can we deliver information as fast as possible, as unobtrusively as possible, that's relevant to a user and respects their context?

Through text. And in a see-through display, mono-red text would be just fine. And I'm sure Google would not mind another potentially huge channel through which to deliver targeted ads to users.

So rather than hinging our consumer strategy on an occluded display like the LED Widescreen architecture, I propose that MVIS would be better served to spend the time to dramatically slim down the form factor of Nomad into a pair of sleek, attractive glasses.

Cell phone and PC displays were monochrome for a long time and these devices still ushered in huge waves of economic growth. There is no reason why we can not attack consumer markets with an eyeglass version of Nomad. After all, mono-red is perfectly suitable for delivery of the form of information with the most meaning per bit -- good old text.

For a little more context on the power (and value) of text, check out this article.

How Google Tamed Ads on the Wild, Wild Web

Sergei Brin and Larry Page, the Google co-founders, were more receptive to internal suggestions that could not be found in a marketing textbook - like text-only ads. These could be created by a business of any size; the format would permit a business to try out hundreds, even thousands, of variations, statistically measure the results and see which ones drew clicks and which did not. This would please advertisers.

Some analysts view Google's embrace of text as temporary, predicting that the company will add image advertising to its site just as soon as it can build the infrastructure. Jordan Rohan, an Internet analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said that given the fact that Google serves up 100 million search-query results a day, were the company to add a single photo-quality image to each page, the bits for each page would increase a thousandfold and the resulting load would figuratively "break the Internet."

Is Google holding off on image ads because of inadequate infrastructure? No, responds Ms. Mayer. She says Google uses text for ads because of cognitive science: text has the highest information density and allows users to scan a lot of information at the highest speed, or, as she phrased it, "the bit rate on text is very fast." Anything that gets in the way of speed-reading must go. Google does not permit advertisers to use all-capital letters. (Studies have shown we read those 30 percent slower than properly capitalized words.) Ms. Mayer did allow for one theoretical exception to text ads in the future: when users search for videos. "For a query on videos for baking a cake, then, a video might be best," she said.

The online marketing agency Avenue A, which later became Avenue A/Razorfish, says that about 30 percent of the more than $400 million it will spend on behalf of its clients this year will be for text ads on search pages. Last month, Eric Schmidt, Google's C.E.O., said the company's profits jumped sevenfold in the third quarter, versus the period a year earlier, partly because larger companies were increasingly willing to spend their ad dollars on search-related advertising.

TRUE, major ad buyers still spend a majority of their client's online budgets on banners and display ads and, increasingly, on video commercials. But even in the deployment of these formats, one can see the effects of Google's civilizing influence: these advertisements, for the most part, eschew the strong-arm tactics of earlier times. David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer, said, "Paid search has brought to the fore the cliché 'the consumer is in control,' and there is no going back."


  1. Let's also note that Nintendo's original Gameboy was hugely successful, even with a monochrome display. Color didn't matter -- the fact that you could play dozens of games on a handheld system was totally unique.

    The main issue is affordability -- in all likelihood, the Gameboy made profits not by the selling of individual units, but through the sale of the game cartridges. Microvision is at a disadvantage here, because it can not sell the display as a loss-leader and make up for it with sale of add-ons.

    Therefore, I'd suggest that it is imperative that Microvision immediately find a company to partner with. The company must have a platform where a monochrome display is acceptable. Now, I'm not pushing a Nintendo-specific angle, but I do agree that a gaming system is perhaps the one place where the coolness factor would completely trump the fact that it's monochrome.

    Microvision needs to GET THEIR PRODUCT OUT THE DOOR and into the hands of consumers -- only then will demand grow. If they can reduce the retail price to $500-600 (I have no idea what it is now), I think these things will sell. Microvision needs a big player who will take a risk and absorb the initial losses with the prospect of totally dominating the handheld/mobile gaming market in 5 years.

    (I'd also like to add that if Microvision can produce a 3D system that sells for $1000-1200, that would probably move, too).


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