I have been traveling for most of the last 2 weeks with a number of business meetings. I thought I would get a quick blog out today ahead of Microvision’s investor conference call on Monday Feb 27th (tomorrow as I write this). I’ve listen to a few Microvision conference calls in the past and they usually say they have made great progress to some vague “goals” and then get a few softball/easy questions from the “financial analysts” that are allowed to ask questions and then quickly end the call. You can listen to if “live” at 8:30AM Easter (5:30AM Pacific) or for a few days recorded at http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=114723&eventID=4727742.
It does not take some deep dark secret (i.e. confidential) information to figure out that laser beam steering ala Microvision has serious problems. It just takes some engineering and business knowledge. Below are a few questions I would like to see asked along with some information.
1) Isn’t the combination of the optics and drive electronics for Microvision’s 720p (see picture) too large to be embedded into any major brand cell phone? Right now you have 2 large ASICs and an FPGA to control the lasers and the mirror where the competition has only 1 much smaller ASIC. According to the technical specifications this optics and electronics module is 35mm × 65mm × 6 .1 mm; how small do you have to get the module to meet the requirements of the major cell phone companies and when will you meet this requirement?
2) According to your technical specifications for the new 720p module, at “27% video” the power dissipation is “approximately 2 Watts.” If this is 27% of 15 lumens (or even 25 lumens), it would suggest that at full brightness the power dissipation is on the order of 4 to 5 Watts. You have stated in the past that the goal to meet the cell phone requirements about 1 Watt. This would seem to be much worst power dissipation than the competing technologies. How is any cell phone company going to embedded something like this that consumes so much power? How long do you expect to take to get the power dissipation for the projector module down to your stated goal of about 1 Watt?
3) According to your technical specifications for the new 720p module, at 25 lumens the module is a class 3R laser product and at 15 lumens it is class 2. A) at what lumens between 15 and 25 does the product cross over into class 3R? B) Isn’t even laser safety class 2 a serious problem for consumer product including cell phone companies? C) What are the issues with trying to sell a class 3R product in the market, particularly when the competing technologies such as DLP and LCOS don’t have this issue?
4) In your December 19th 2011 8K you stated, “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.” But commercialization only means that they will be available for sale at some price, and it says nothing about them being viable for making profitable product. Doesn’t all this talk about the definition of “commercial” just avoid the real issue of whether the lasers you need for laser beam steering will be PRACTICAL in terms of cost, power efficiency, lifetime, and wavelength (color) in 2012 and 2013 for embedded products like cell phones?
5) The blog KGOnTech has posted several articles stating the laser beam scanning process will result in lower than your claimed 720p resolution. Can you actually demonstrate that you can actually fully resolve a 1280 by 720 pixel test pattern?
6) Lately you seem to have put a lot on emphasis on automotive heads up displays (HUD). The power and size requirements are much more relaxed for this market. Is this in some ways an admission that the lasers are not going to be ready for any embedded products in the near future.
7) Realistically, how large is the market going to be for an after market automotive HUD? Are the laser cost, availability, brightness, and other specification acceptable today for the automotive market?
Please feel free to add questions or ask me to clarify my questions in the comments.