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It has now been confirmed, as I wrote on August 9, 2013, that Pioneer has switched from using Microvision (NASDAQ:MVIS) to a "different technology" in its new aftermarket automotive HUD (Heads Up Display) development. Pioneer's news release on September 4, 2013 states that its new aftermarket HUD is using Texas Instruments' (NASDAQ:TXN) DLP® technology.
Quoting Pioneer's September 4, 2013 press release (with my bold emphasis):
Pioneer's NavGate HUD uses a Digital Light Processor (DLP) projector for high contrast and deep colour saturation, creating a 30-inch display, sitting approximately 3 metres in front of the driver. The projector displays location information as a natural part of the landscape for more intuitive driving.
Just 6 days after my article, on August 15th, Microvision chose in essence to re-issue Pioneer's May 8, 2013 announcement for the older design. One can only assume based on the curious timing and the "re-announcement" of an old design win that it was in response to my article. Why else would Microvision chose to re-announce the old design? I have to believe that Microvision knew that it had been designed out in favor of DLP for the newer aftermarket HUD well before this "news" was published.
I always see this as a bad sign when a company re-announces "old- news as new-news" or makes big announcements out of little deals. From my experience, this marketing trick is use to distract people from bad news. And today Microvision appears to have done it again.
I find it hard to believe that it is a just a coincidence that on the very same day that Pioneer confirms that it has switched to DLP technology for its new aftermarket HUD that Microvision chose to announce a little deal as if it was a big deal.
Quoting Microvision's announcement (with my bold emphasis):
"The SES systems will be part of the Tier-1's reliability testing and characterization for potential use of PicoP® display technology in an embedded HUD application for at least one major automotive OEM. The order includes engineering services along with the prototype systems. "
So this amounts to a technology evaluation contract that may or may not lead to an actual product sometime in the future. Knowing the typically long automotive design cycles, this would at best be a number of years away from any volume production.
Based on my technical knowledge and experience in this field, my expectation is that the end result of the "characterization for potential use" will likely follow a similar path as Pioneer has followed.
Additional disclosure: I retired from TI as a TI fellow in 1998 and currently have no holdings in TI. I was formerly the CTO of Syndiant, a private company that could be seen as a competitor of Microvision. I'm currently CTO of Navdy, a company working in automotive aftermarket products.