My, the power of the blogosphere! I just started this blog two weeks ago and Microvision has all the appearances of making a veiled response to my blog and having to issue an 8-K statement to the SEC. Personally, I found Microvision blog/8-K full of half truths and obfuscations. It also appears that since they couldn’t deal factually with what I wrote, they resorted to name calling with the pejorative “false soothsayer.”
Since my blog has led to a lot of questions and a firestorm of activity on the Yahoo Financial Message Boards (and the deletion of many of these posts) and the Investor’s Village Board on Microvision last week, and as far as I am aware I am the only person writing about the availability of green lasers in 2012 recently, I think it is pretty clear that the “soothsayer” they are referring to Microvision’s blog is me (if not me then who else?).
For those who haven’t seen the Form 8-K it can be found at:
Anything quoted below I will take directly from the 8-K statement. For brevity, I did take snippets out but I will try snip enough to keep it in context.
First to the “soothsayers”:
“Lest you be led astray by false soothsayers, based on our periodic discussions and latest updates from three direct green laser developers we anticipate that Nichia, Osram and Soraa will release commercial versions of their lasers in 2012 and two of the three should have commercial direct green laser released by mid-2012.”
So who, other than me, are they accusing of being a “false soothsayer?” How about being specific about what they think I (or someone else if there really is someone else they are speaking about) wrote that is false? I would be happy to answer their accusations.
Their “number one question” is “. . . the topic we overwhelmingly receive the most questions about – direct green lasers (DGLs). Everyone wants us to tell them when they will be available!”
This certainly is a key question for them, but really hides behind it a bunch of other issues. I would suggest that they should also be asked about the price, efficiency, and wavelength of these lasers and whether they are expected to be suitable for making a practical embedded cell phone pico projector engine in 2012.
“ . . . So what do I mean by “commercial version” direct green laser? It’s a laser that has passed through intense qualification by the component manufacturer to insure that it meets all of its intended performance specifications, with confirmed reliability and manufacturability necessary for mass production.”
The real question is whether these lasers will be available at a price point, with a wavelength, and an efficiency that is practical. I don’t doubt that most if not all the companies will be in production with a green laser in 2012, but what constitutes “mass production” is a different matter. Nichia already has a 510nm green laser in production, for example, and it might be possible to build a heads up display for an automobile with it (albeit a bit expensive for the purpose), but that is clearly impractical in terms of wavelength, efficiency, and cost for building a high volume battery powered projector. I also question whether they will be bright enough for a volume product other than a HUD.
Also give a ball park as to what they mean by “mass production.”
“� DGLs will be much cheaper than synthetic green lasers at introduction.”
I would consider this to be obfuscating. While they will be cheaper, the real question is whether they will be cheap enough and for what products? Also are the lasers efficient enough, have the right green wavelength, and bright enough to make a practical projector?
“� Ultimately, pricing depends on volume and yield hence we will not know the final pricing next year. However, the two important points to focus on are: DGL are much easier to manufacture than their “synthetic” predecessors and the budgetary quotes we see today reflect cost that is substantially less than the cost of the synthetic green lasers we purchased from 2010-2011.”
More obfuscating about whether they will be cost effective, at least in 2012. But it sound like a roundabout way of saying that the price could be about anything next year as at least some of the variables like yield are out of their control. Note, the cost could be a lot less than what they paid for SGL and still way too expensive for a practical product.
“� DGLs will be available in higher quantities than SGLs.
� Based on our discussions with suppliers, we expect volumes to reach monthly run rates that far exceed historical production of SGL volumes. Direct green laser diodes will be manufactured similar to established manufacturing processes used for red and blue diodes today by some of the largest laser suppliers in the world. It’s an easy equation: Simpler = easier to manufacture = higher volumes and yields.”
As my father said, “that is damning with faint praise.” Since the SGL that they could use in laser beam scanning were only available in very limited quantities at high costs, this essentially says nothing.
“In the coming weeks we intend to provide a series of posts that discuss direct green lasers in more detail, as well as other business updates. Stay tuned!”
I hope they will because nothing they wrote in their blog/8-K told you anything but restating a few truisms that they have stated multiple times before. They gave a answers to softball questions while telling you next to nothing about whether it would allow them to build a practical product.
I believe that even all the focus on green laser availability itself is a misdirection of sorts. Beyond the cost, availability, efficiency, wavelength and other technical factors associated with direct green lasers, I believe the whole laser beam scanning concept has major other problems that are hiding behind the many years of scapegoating green lasers.
So what did one learn from their response that contradicts anything I (or some other person) have written? I couldn’t find anything. Their statements are much like a politician that restates the problem and tries to pretend like this is the same as giving an answer. I didn’t find anything Microvision wrote above to be factually wrong, it just doesn’t provide any real information other than restating the obvious and not telling the whole story. Also nothing they wrote disagrees with anything, “the soothsayer” has written (mostly because it doesn’t really say much).