Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Strict Non-disclosures, Apple's War on Leakers

This is posted because it is an example of the seriousness with which companies take secrecy and non-disclosure agreements. (This post has nothing to do with any possibility that Microvision may or may not be involved with any of Apple's plans.)

During the recent stockholders' meeting, the statement was made that the NDA's for the company's recent development contract are the strictest they have been under yet.

That's a significant reason for me changing the way I am posting information on this blog. Much of the content here was about where Microvision's technology may show up. If the "right answer" were to be stumbled upon -- would another company interpret it as a leak? If so, would that damage the company? (I am an investor, and don't want to do that.)

So, I eagerly anticipate hearing about the next orders for the engines that are entering mass production. I'm keeping the dot-connecting to myself and a few close friends. I have never been more excited about the potential for this company.

I only just noticed that Walt sent this to me yesterday. I saw it first on the Drudge Report. Thanks Walt, and thanks Jason as well. (was off the grid yesterday -- thanks SSBN Louisiana Crew!!)

The Outline -- I strongly encourage people to read this.

A recording of an internal briefing at Apple earlier this month obtained by The Outline sheds new light on how far the most valuable company in the world will go to prevent leaks about new products.

The briefing, titled “Stopping Leakers - Keeping Confidential at Apple,” was led by Director of Global Security David Rice, Director of Worldwide Investigations Lee Freedman, and Jenny Hubbert, who works on the Global Security communications and training team..... 

--- more at the source.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hokanen in Mems Journal

There's much more at the source. 

Re-posted by Microvision today.

MEMS Journal: Why did you choose to form a partnership to co-develop your LBS technology with ST Microelectronics and what does the partnership involve?
Jari Honkanen: We formed a close working relationship with STMicroelectronics over the past several years and recognized common interests and complementary skills in the LBS technology arena.  The co-marketing agreement is a framework for us to work collaboratively on sales and marketing of our respective LBS solutions.  We are also exploring the possibility of future technology development including a joint-LBS roadmap.  Bringing our complementary skills together to grow the market for LBS and applications that both companies are focusing on makes good sense, and both companies benefit from the relationship.  We benefit from ST’s expertise in semiconductor technology and its global customer reach, while ST benefits from our proprietary system, LBS engine and applications knowledge, and intellectual property.

MEMS Journal: Let’s switch topics a bit.  There are many companies pursuing LIDAR.  What is your take on this ADAS sensor technology and what are the main trends?

Jari Honkanen: LIDAR is one of the key enabling sensor technologies for ADAS, and eventually for self-driving vehicles, that enable cars to “see.”  In the current prototype systems, a single LIDAR sensor is typically used for long range environmental mapping and modeling.  However, there is an industry debate going on whether camera sensors, radar, or LIDAR is the best technology for this purpose. 

Camera sensors can be used to capture video of the environment and then the ADAS system can utilize computer vision algorithms to make sense of and analyze the environment.  What’s great about camera sensors is that one can distinguish and classify complex objects such as traffic signs or lane markings, as well as pedestrians or animals.  The challenge is that the camera can only see what it can see -- in other words, camera sensors have challenges in low light and bright sun light.  Also the vision algorithms require significant computing power.

When equipped with a radar sensor, the car transmits radio waves and interprets the back reflection.  Radar works great for the detection of large objects and can easily calculate speed and distance.  It also works on all weather and lighting conditions.  However, the challenge with radar is that it cannot distinguish color or differentiate between objects of the same size. 

Finally, LIDAR transmits light pulses and interprets the back reflection from objects.  The major benefit of LIDAR is that it can classify and detect specific objects and calculate distance.  It can also detect things like lane edges and it works during both dark and light conditions.  However, the challenge of LIDAR is that in inclement weather conditions the light can reflect from rain, snow or fog, reducing the sensor’s effectiveness.

These different sensor technologies have their strengths and weaknesses.  Hence, for the foreseeable future, cars will have to rely on a combination of these sensors.  This may also be desired for redundancy and safety.  The car industry can look to the aviation industry when it comes to redundancy and backup systems for safety.

But besides a single long range LIDAR for environment mapping and modeling, we believe that ADAS will have many applications for cost effective mid-range LIDAR systems.  We envision future cars to contain multiple mid-range LIDAR sensors performing a variety of ADAS applications, such as blind spot detection, parking assist, lane assist and departure warnings.
MEMS Journal: How does your LIDAR technology work?  And how does it measure up to other competing alternatives in terms of performance and cost?    

Jari Honkanen: For LIDAR applications we use our scanning MEMS mirror, but instead of visible light laser diodes, we utilize one or several invisible near infrared (IR) laser diodes.  The IR beam is reflected onto the biaxial MEMS scanning mirror that scans the beam in a raster pattern.  Our LIDAR system also contains an IR photodetector that will detect reflections from the scanner IR laser beam.  Since speed of light is constant and we know the time when we emit the specific laser pulse and when we receive the reflection back, we can calculate the distance to the object that the light reflected back from.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What do YOU think the price of Microvision Might get to? (UPDATED Again)

** Updated because of requests/suggestions **

ADDED Expenditures

So if you're holding this stock and wondering where it might go....

Once during the ASM I did this exercise with another shareholder, and asked if I was being reasonable. My own numbers don't really matter. Use your numbers.

There are several variables that factor into it:

  • How much do you think Microvision will earn each time PicoP is installed?
  • What % of smartphones sold world wide do you think will have it installed (eventually?)
  • What do you think the price to earnings ratio of Microvision's stock will be when that happens?
There are other variables that are there that you may wish to tweak:
  • The number of Microvision Shares outstanding (set to current number -- if you're worried about more dilution, adjust that number.)
  • The total smartphone market last year, 1.4 Billion were sold. If you think it's going to grow or shrink, adjust the number.
  • ADDED -- Annual expenditures. Set at 20 Million which is somewhat higher than current expenditures. Additional produced volume will not significantly increase expenditures. (With even minimal optimism, this number gets lost fairly quickly.)
  • ADDED TAXES -- Tax rates vary for companies, sometimes wildly. Sometimes they get tax benefits, they pay more some years than others. For purposes of this I put the default tax rate as the AVERAGE of the last several years found here: Microsoft Tax Rate. For the sake of simplicity, I left it at 22%. 
This exercise does NOT consider heads up displays, smart speakers, near eye displays, 3d scanning, self driving cars and robotics. There's more where this came from.

Compare PE ratios with current PE ratios of some tech companies....salesforce, yelp, grubhub, mobile eye, TakeTwo... 

Change any number in a box and click "calculate" and come up with your own.

What's your price target?
How much do you think Microvision will profit for each PicoP sold?
What % of smartphones sold do you think will use it?
What do you think the PE of the stock will be when this happens?
Static Variables(you can still change)
Microvision Shares Outstanding
Total Smartphone market: 2016
Total Microvision expenditures annual
Effective Tax Rate (%)
* * * * * * * * *
Number of PicoP Installations you expect
Total Earnings Before Taxes you expect
Microvision Earnings After Taxes
Microvision Net Earnings Per Share
Microvision Price Per Share that you expect

Friday, June 9, 2017

At Least Temporary, Possibly Permanent Change

This blog was established as a repository for my own notes about Microvision; a place to store my notes about this company.

Over time, it has become far more public than I ever intended.

I believe that the company, in spite of recent stock price behavior is "out of the woods." 

The first of three standardized products are in mass production, and, as we heard at the stockholders' meeting, there is no shortage of opportunities for MicroVision. 

With standardized products in mass production, and nothing in the way of producing very large quantities of those products, there is little in the way of widespread adoption of the technology. It has significant advantages to competing technology in power-consumption / size / brightness / focus / interactivity. The case for large displays in small packages is so compelling (especially when the display is interactive) that I see little to hold us back at this point.

The changes will be as follows:

1) There will be fewer updates. (I have other things I need to and want to work on.)

2) There will be few if any specific potential customer names mentioned. We all know where to look. 

3) This may change.... 

Fast Follower Profile #1

Among the things demonstrated at the ASM was a mounted interactive projector. It's no secret that it would be for a device like this.

The touch-interactive engine goes into mass production this year and samples are available.

The Chairman of the board, Turner reported during the question and answer period that "everyone wants to work with us."  This is the point where a mass produced generic engine that is easily connected to devices starts making hay.

They can't count orders they don't have yet. "Fast Followers" are part of the consumer electronics landscape, however. 

So, you have to ask yourself some questions:

  • Which of these companies wants video functionality in their smart speaker?
  • Which of these companies wants to sell quick little smart-speaker ads?
  • Which competitors to these companies would put video in their smart speaker to add value ahead of these companies if they could?
  • In a situation where there's one quarter lead time to any quantity of engines will there be more orders?


Amazon Echo  First Appeared November 6, 2014.

Google Home appeared in  2016

Apple HomePod, two and a half years behind, announces their product in June 2017.

Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana, Scheduled for late 2017 launch.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fast Followers

These categories and timeline is important.

Things that were talked about in the last ten years -- they come together this year.

... and a lot has been added.

"fast followers."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Projector Rumor Microsoft Surface Phone

It's a rumor, not sure of the source, but there it is.

I don't know how reliable this news is, but given past language from Microsoft about Continuum, I give it a "6"

I have no doubt that OnMSFT is being run responsibly.

Some Chinese leaks appear to provide some details of Microsoft’s Windows phone successor which could possibly be called the Surface Mobile. The details were first found by Twitter user, h0x0d, who has often been a reliable Microsoft news tipster in the past.
In addition to the new name (previous leaks had suggested the ‘Surface Phone‘ brand), translations of the leaks reveal that the Surface Mobile will support the Surface Pen (like in the mock-up image above), will be powered by a Snapdragon processor, and will have a kickstand (like the Surface Pro and Surface PCs) that opens as far as 185 degrees.

Of particular note is a brand new feature for a Microsoft device called “Onto Table” which appears to be a built-in projector that can display a full desktop via Continuum. The Surface Mobile’s battery is stated as being able to last for up to an hour in this mode. (This could potentially be a wireless projection to another monitor but many are interpreting it as having literal projection capability).

Two new codenames are also dropped: ‘Surface Peking’ and ‘Surface Slavonia’. It’s unclear what these could be but they are mentioned alongside the word “terminal” which suggests they could be some sort of hardware similar to the Microsoft Display Dock used for Continuum functionality. ‘Surface Peking’ can be interpreted as ‘Surface Beijing’ as the names are interchangeable.

The codename ‘Project Andromeda’ is also mentioned however it’s rather ambiguous and could refer to the range of Surface Mobile devices or even the new operating system which is expected to be an evolution of Windows 10 Mobile.

All of this is pure rumor until we hear an official announcement from Microsoft but it definitely is exciting and does make one wonder if this is the exciting new mobile device Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had spoken about.


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