Friday, July 29, 2016

Long vision vs the rear-view mirror

If you have driven across the plains toward Colorado you have experienced this. For a very long time all you can see is flat and corn. You are making the drive because you want to see the mountains -- and for a day it seems like you're never going to get there.

When you can first see the mountains, you keep driving -- and it seems like you're not getting any closer, like you're never going to get there. They seem very distant for hours -- even though you know you're driving right at them at 65 miles per hour.

Occasionally, once even pretty close to the mountains, you'll go behind some trees, or into a dip behind one of the foothills and the view of the mountains goes away entirely, and the despair of not reaching the mountains grows -- even if you know they're right there.

Then when you get close to the first mountain, you can't even see it any more. The driver may assume that you know this. He has been paying attention all the time. Of course you can see it you're ON it. So, the driver talks about the next mountain. That's what happened yesterday.

That first mountain is right there, it's so obvious you can't miss it. That next mountain is a couple of hours away. But they are kids in the back of the car. They have to pee, they're uncomfortable, and they thought dad was talking about this mountain, and now he's talking about that one, which is another two hours away. 

They are on the mountain they can't see it  as a mountain anymore. They won't until they're on top of it. The kids in the back of the car hear two more hours and start crying. 

Dad is saying WTF! we're here! And there's even better stuff over there! All the kids heard was about two more hours in the car. And one of the kids just woke up, looked at the rear view mirror and saw a hundred miles of the great plains. That kid really lost it.

That scene in the car is about what happened yesterday after the conference call.

Listen to it again 


PicoP is something the company's plan was to work on until it could be a self-sustaining item and fund the other projects the company had on the shelf. This has been said a number of time over the years. PicoP is there. 

Do not doubt what you see in the Qualper phone. A number of shareholders held it and saw it in action at the annual stockholder's meeting. I would love to be the guy building buzz about such a product. If I were a troll, I'd get one of those, slap an Apple logo on it, tour pubs in tech press hangouts and turn the rumor mill to completely mental. If you've found this blog you know that that is exactly what would happen. But the company has strict NDA's and they are following them.

SONY probably has strict NDAs that they are following which probably require them to not say anything even to Microvision.

It's there its great, and it's ready to go. We also know that it's going to be upgraded, it will get smaller and better and brighter.

But where are the orders?!

We keep hearing this, and it's a good question. Where are the orders? If you've ever called to order something that you need and you're told, "things are in short supply and the lead time is long" then you probably pre-order. 

(If you do, the company can't report it as income until it ships the stuff and can't take a deposit until it starts making your stuff, and this is the "normal course of business" so it can't announce it -- especially if there are strict NDA's.)

If the lead time is short though, and you don't want people to know what you're up to, you'll probably make your prototypes, announce your product, and then order your components. 

We have been assured there are no supply chain problems, and that huge quantities can be made quickly.

Sony is working through its backlog -- yet we haven't seen products out there! Where are the products? Probably a hell of a lot of prototype products and small runs for testing. Sony may be slow, but they're REALLY good at things.

If you don't want anyone to know what you're up to, how many do you order then? None. If I can ask for it today and get it tomorrow, why would I order it a week in advance?

The design phase takes a long time, product cycles are strange and seem random to the people outside the fold -- but when production kicks on in consumer electronics they can make 60 million copies of something and sell them in a quarter. Foxconn, who now has PicoP in a little Robot,  does it all the time.

The Next Mountain

There's been a LOT of media buzz about the next mountain Microvision is scheduled to climb. Augmented Reality. So it makes sense to talk about it. 

Of course, as soon as the time it's going to take to be firmly on that mountain was mentioned, that was all people heard. Next year?!?! 2018?? Yes, for the next thing. The next big thing after the big thing we just did is a couple of years out. The company's timing on this one is PERFECT, we're early enough that those companies know they won't need to worry about the display.

Microvision's display solution for augmented reality is fantastic. 

All the stuff that people are raving about -- ODG, Vuzix, Cast AR, Hololens -- have displays that while remarkable -- are terrible next to Microvision's 15 year old Nomad system. 

The field of view is small for all of them, and Microvision can cure that. With existing technology. To be fair most of those companies working AR are hard at work on software and the human interface. How to control a computer you wear and placement of information in the real world are difficult problems.


Yesterday's call was great, but I also cringed a little when I heard time references for two years out. But that wasn't a reference to what we've been waiting for eagerly for the last few years -- that was very much a reference to the next mountain. Clearly, based on the reaction in the stock that is the ONLY thing some people heard, they didn't even pay attention to WHAT was in two years.

PicoP? We're one signature away from what we've been waiting for for a long time. Given the awesomeness of the Qualper phone, I expect that to happen any day now. 

If you've seen it, put yourself in the shoes of any decision maker at any phone company who is desperate for new features. 

A friend got hold of me yesterday. We don't talk nearly enough. He sent a text that said "Buying mvis."

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