Integrated circuit expert and SA contributor Karl Guttag has conclusive proof that Himax (HIMX)...


Integrated circuit expert and SA contributor Karl Guttag has conclusive proof that Himax (HIMX) microdisplays are being used in Google Glass (GOOG). Shares of Himax (HIMX) are down more than 28% since May 31 after Google Glass teardowns revealed no Himax logo.

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Comments (54)
  • Paulo Santos
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    Does anyone really expect Google Glass to go anywhere? It seems the kind of product primed to bomb for certain.
    16 Jun 2013, 04:47 PM Reply Like
  • not a guest
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    you havent seen it i guess. yes, this is going to be revolutionary. so many applications. i use a HMD for work, it has revolutionized my job.
    16 Jun 2013, 05:09 PM Reply Like
  • dcfleck
    , contributor
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    "it has revolutionized my job."

     

    Can you describe how?
    16 Jun 2013, 05:18 PM Reply Like
  • not a guest
    , contributor
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    google JHMCS, F-16 platform.
    16 Jun 2013, 05:20 PM Reply Like
  • pollyserial
    , contributor
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    Apparently you have a bit of a niche job, there. I think Paolo's point was, it has limited appeal for consumers. I would add that the derision coming from the blogosphere for google glass has been nearly unanimous.
    16 Jun 2013, 06:46 PM Reply Like
  • not a guest
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    Yes i do, but it has radically changed the way we do business. For almost 10 years i have wondered about the viability of HMD's for everyday activities. For virtually any action sport I think it will be a huge hit. Grocery shopping? Hell that will probably work too, no need to write a list anymore. Wearable tech is going to boom faster than smartphones did. Good luck to you if you're short, HIMX is going to blow the top off this week. Irony is they have so much strength in the other parts of their biz that nobody seems to care about.
    16 Jun 2013, 07:04 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
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    I'm not short anything here, I just doubt that Google Glass will be a hit, except for very specific niches.
    16 Jun 2013, 07:13 PM Reply Like
  • amatureTRADER
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    PEOPLE said exactly the same thing about the IPHONE when it came out a few years back. Look at the iphone sale s now and where is APPLE now ?
    Enough said.
    16 Jun 2013, 08:40 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (34791) | Send Message
     
    Enough said? Not at all - we could be discussing a pile of manure and the same argument you applied would still hold, "people said the same thing about the iPhone" ...
    16 Jun 2013, 08:48 PM Reply Like
  • andyk80
    , contributor
    Comments (53) | Send Message
     
    Mass adoption of Glass does not matter in my opinion. Glass brought Google a reputation as a innovator. Glass seems silly to many because you have to wear it on your head and everyone knows you are wearing it. In the future things will get small enough and imagine if it can be embedded into a contact lens. Glass tells us all that Google is the company taking the world into the future.
    16 Jun 2013, 10:48 PM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
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    There are parallels between the original iPhone and Glass. The iPhone was not an immediate success and was largely panned by competitors and critics. It initially launched with a combination of technologies not entirely new but new in that specific form factor. It had a high price point compared to other devices and had relatively limited functionality (no 3rd party apps) compared to competing smartphones (like Palm and BlackBerry).

     

    When Apple expanded the ecosystem and opened the app store, and AT&T subsidized the cost, its utility, function, and entertainment value skyrocketed, and with no competition it became a must have device, and a robust accessory ecosystem sprung up around it.

     

    Glass has all of these things going for it except that it won't be a year before developers release applications for it, and it is unlikely that any OEM will be able to release a similar product in such a short period of time.

     

    If Google prices it right, developers will increase its functionality and it can be customized with any number of different frames and lenses with no competing products readily available that have the level of developer support that Glass will have. If you are basing your opinion that it will fail on just how the Explorer version looks and operates, you are assuming that it is a static product that won't change or increase in features after it is released, which is not the case.

     

    Just because you say things like 'The iPhone was highly desirable, this isn't' doesn't make them true. It didn't become highly desirable Immediately on launch, it only did so once the price was affordable and its utility was expanded by third parties. The lack of any comparable product made it the only choice.

     

    The same thing will happen with Glass.

     

    Besides, Bluetooth headsets still sell, they look worse and do less. Google isn't going to price this so high that it won't succeed, and the drop from $1500 and limited availability to a more reasonable price and mass market availability will increase the perception that consumers are getting a highly desirable product at a discount.
    18 Jun 2013, 09:54 PM Reply Like
  • Panoplos
    , contributor
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    5.4M iPhone units in the first year for a completely new market player is not what I would call weak sales.

     

    The Glass form factor is being completely ignored. Have you actually sat in a room with people wearing Glass? It has a high geek factor, but the world is not comprised of geeks alone, and the first adopters are going to be an actual deterrent to mass adoption.

     

    iPhone, on the other hand, was an obvious transition from the wildly successful iPod, so the comparison here breaks down.

     

    When they can make Glass smaller and less Borge-like, then we will see adoption, but technology has a long way to go before this will happen.

     

    For industrial applications, it will be a huge winner.
    19 Jun 2013, 01:03 AM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    The blogosphere is reviewing a prototype that they paid $1500 for and was released specifically to get feedback from highly connected tech media who test mobile devices for a living, from influential public figures, from high profile developers, and people that can look past using a prototype in ways Google didn't necessarily anticipate so that they can address those concerns before the final product is released.

     

    This isn't the same as reviewing a final product, which given the components can be produced at scale and sold in the much more reasonable range of a midrange smartphone ($199-399, which is similar to their Nexus devices).

     

    Reviewing a prototype at a $1500 price point that they paid for vs. a $200-300 version that will launch with their issues addressed and robust developer support from major developers will yield a different result.

     

    Ultimately, since it runs on Android on smartphone specs from nearly one to two years ago (similar to iPhone 4S, Galaxy S2, Galaxy Nexus), it will run smoothly since it isn't pushing a bunch of pixels or heavy multitasking, and can be priced to sell briskly without necessarily needing to be a loss leader.
    19 Jun 2013, 02:16 AM Reply Like
  • Aaron.Rhodes
    , contributor
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    It will definitely have a niche market. Its uses in industry, academia, and business are exciting. Whether or not it will take off as more than an accessory is up in the air.
    16 Jun 2013, 04:58 PM Reply Like
  • Philip Marlowe
    , contributor
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    Himax's stock is falling for a completely different reason. One of the shareholders is selling 50 million shares at relatively low prices.
    16 Jun 2013, 05:05 PM Reply Like
  • Brian Barbour
    , contributor
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    having a screen that close to your eye for long periods must not be good for it surely.
    16 Jun 2013, 05:19 PM Reply Like
  • Aaron.Rhodes
    , contributor
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    - And staring at the television melts your brain!
    - To that point; an observational study found that adult Inuits had rare incidence of myopia as compared to people from cultures with a standardized education that encouraged reading at an early age. Though, Inuit children now in public school have similar levels of myopia. The conclusion being that reading is bad for your eyeballs! Oh the humanity!
    16 Jun 2013, 05:33 PM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
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    You aren't always looking into it. You have to look slightly up to see notifications and such. I surmise there may be some eyestrain but not anymore so than staring at a smartphone or monitor all day long.

     

    Besides, its not like people will be wearing them 24/7.
    17 Jun 2013, 10:37 AM Reply Like
  • not a guest
    , contributor
    Comments (52) | Send Message
     
    if the image is focused on infinity its irrelevant. i have been using an HMD for 10 years. has not created any problems for anybody i know about.
    17 Jun 2013, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • mike8599
    , contributor
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    Google glass will be huge - in a manufacturing environment alone we've been waiting for this for years. Hands free information on demand.

     

    I love it when people ask questions like "what is this good for" or "will this tech go anywhere". I remember when they said the thing about calculators, and computers were to expensive to be used by everyone. Now they are saying it about 3D printers and Google glass....really hasn't history taught us anything?
    16 Jun 2013, 05:31 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
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    When Steve Jobs first proposed "personal" computers, people laughed and asked why anybody would want one.
    16 Jun 2013, 07:01 PM Reply Like
  • dcfleck
    , contributor
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    " I remember when they said the thing about calculators, and computers"

     

    Then again, for every calculator and PC there's also a Segway.

     

    That's not to disparage Google Glass, though. If it truly is a revolutionary product, then we don't even know yet what its true potential will be.
    16 Jun 2013, 08:20 PM Reply Like
  • mike8599
    , contributor
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    Segway's probably could have made it if they were priced correctly. The world (except malls) wasn't built for them so if they weren't extremely cheap no one was going buy them.

     

    Glass is more of an evolution of current tech. I'd be surprised if the next cool thing is the glass without the glass and just an ear piece.... Google "Ear Phone"
    17 Jun 2013, 12:59 PM Reply Like
  • RS055
    , contributor
    Comments (5560) | Send Message
     
    I imagine extremely valuable applications in industry. Imagine a worker on an oil rig repairing some complex equipment , getting instructions on google glass as he is doing it.
    16 Jun 2013, 05:32 PM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
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    Imagine what it can do for you on the greens.
    16 Jun 2013, 06:19 PM Reply Like
  • not a guest
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    Comments (52) | Send Message
     
    yep, or a waterproof goggle version for wakeboarding or water skiing....not to mention ski googles. gopro to become old tech.
    16 Jun 2013, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • Aaron.Rhodes
    , contributor
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    I think what these comments hint at is that not even Google has imagined the complete range of applications this technology could have. That is exciting. I have already thought of multiple applications for my research in forest ecology. I'll have to apply for google glass funding!
    16 Jun 2013, 07:09 PM Reply Like
  • jsIRA
    , contributor
    Comments (4341) | Send Message
     
    Goog Glass:

     

    I doubt that it will become a hit product for retail consumers anytime in near future.
    16 Jun 2013, 07:14 PM Reply Like
  • skodi
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    what are the predictions for tomorrow, does HIMX rise or fall?
    16 Jun 2013, 09:07 PM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    Based on what? They haven't released a price yet nor has development started on a large scale.
    18 Jun 2013, 10:03 PM Reply Like
  • GRojasHruska
    , contributor
    Comments (98) | Send Message
     
    If it is to be used for such applications it must be very stable, I would assume not the same model for consumers which would have a more Android like approach, there are already similar things in many industries, including design. This is an inevitable development.
    16 Jun 2013, 08:47 PM Reply Like
  • Moon Kil Woong
    , contributor
    Comments (13475) | Send Message
     
    There is nothing special about Google glass. Pop up displays for airplanes, esp. military have been around for a long time. The issue is price. It needs to be cheap, cheap and look cool. Then the issue is what app really needs this. Maybe maps but people have enough problems watching the road without the added distraction.
    16 Jun 2013, 10:37 PM Reply Like
  • Bill Maurer
    , contributor
    Comments (7253) | Send Message
     
    Author is long HIMX. For what it's worth to anyone.
    16 Jun 2013, 10:55 PM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    Karl isn't just an average SA investor/commenter - he's an expert on LCOS Displays and is well known in this field. Look him up. The fact that he's long HIMX adds more weight/credibility that this is the real deal than it does discredit him or indicate COI.

     

    As far as others saying that Glass is going to fail, such proclamations are incredibly short sighted. No one could have imagined the popularity of smart phones in 2007 or how quickly it would grow and once this starts becoming publicly available and developers start building on it as a platform, it could take off just like the iPhone revolutionized phones and the iPad revolutionized tablets. The potential of Glass isn't in the core features Google will launch with, (although Google is best suited to deliver services relevant to this type of use case), but its promise lies in its potential to become the next "platform" that developers can build on.

     

    The first iPhone didn't have third party apps, and many of the features and functions that modern smartphones are capable of weren't even conceived of when it first released. It took several new and existing technologies and presented a platform for developers to take in numerous directions

     

    Glass could very likely be the catalyst for the "internet of things" and the next wave in mobile computing.

     

    HIMX specializes in this type of display (LCOS mini displays) and Glass is just the beginning of the potential for revenue growth. Wearable tech is an infant industry and has high growth potential, where LCOS displays can be leveraged.

     

    There are many reasons HIMX is a buy. Glass is just the beginning. I'm long HIMX and will be adding to my position when opportunities arise.

     

    Disclosure: Long HIMX, intent to add to holdings over next 72 hours.
    17 Jun 2013, 08:37 AM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (34791) | Send Message
     
    The iPhone was highly desirable, this isn't.
    17 Jun 2013, 08:58 AM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    Thats a rather bold claim about a product that isn't fully public yet, hasn't been priced, and is still in the beginning of its life as a platform and has significant interest from both the tech industry, investors, and consumers alike.

     

    The bottom line is that its success isn't going to be determined before it is released or even in the first week or month of sales. Once it grows as a platform and use cases that you, I, or Google havent considered become available will it be something that can be judged as a success or failure.

     

    Anecdotally, I know people who are average non-tech enthusiast consumers that would grab it if priced right just for the camera features alone. It can interact with both Android and iOS, so it won't be limited solely to Android users (although iOS won't have full functionality).

     

    If you look solely at what has been demonstrated from the Explorer program and completely ignore it's potential as a platform (which is already attracting developer interest), you're digging yourself into an incredibly narrow minded view. That is entirely within your right, but don't mistake your personal feelings towards Glass as the definitive outlook of consumers.

     

    Time will prove one of us right.
    17 Jun 2013, 10:20 AM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
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    The average person does not want to look like THAT ...
    17 Jun 2013, 10:22 AM Reply Like
  • mike8599
    , contributor
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    Boy I wish we could saved your comments.... you'll be embarrassed. A futurist you're not.
    17 Jun 2013, 01:01 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (34791) | Send Message
     
    Actually I've predicted a LOT of future stuff correctly. It's just that right now, people do NOT want to look like that. It might change somewhere down the line, but it's not how it is today.

     

    And you know it as well as I. Of course there are always sub-groups which might accept that look and over time convince others, but it's not something which is going mainstream right away and it's not at all certain that it will catch on.
    17 Jun 2013, 01:08 PM Reply Like
  • Aaron.Rhodes
    , contributor
    Comments (356) | Send Message
     
    I remember when talking on the cell phone in public places was considered rude. That didn't last long.
    17 Jun 2013, 01:25 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
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    The cell phone was an obvious success... this thing isn't.
    17 Jun 2013, 01:28 PM Reply Like
  • Aaron.Rhodes
    , contributor
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    I appreciate the skepticism, and it is questionable if this will reach a consumer products market. It will however be a successful product whether it stays niche or goes mainstream. The applications for this technology, especially when used in conjunction with Geographic Information Systems, are endless.
    17 Jun 2013, 01:38 PM Reply Like
  • mike8599
    , contributor
    Comments (589) | Send Message
     
    Any consumer inventions ?

     

    If this priced correctly it will be huge. I'm sure they will price it high to start but mods and improvements will come quickly - like no camera, or no ear piece, and others will get into it.

     

    I think folks are tired of holding bulky cell phones.
    17 Jun 2013, 02:15 PM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    It uses bone conduction for the audio. There is no ear piece. I think you hit the nail right on the head.

     

    It also allows easy texting, radio tuning, Navigation, and voice calls while driving that does not take the users eyes off the road to fiddle with a car stereo or phone.

     

    With the components they have, it's comparable to a low mid range smartphone and considering it isn't driving as much graphically and task wise as a phone would, there isn't a significant performance hit. It offloads the heavy processing work to the phone and is compatible with both iOS and Android, although obviously much greater with Android.

     

    I'll revisit this thread a year after Glass goes public, just to see how predictions fared. People who dismiss this appear to either be shorting the stock (Himax or Google), Apple or Ms fans that are biased against Google and dismiss anything from Google anyway, or don't understand the technology and are only considering its utility at launch and not giving enough weight to the hundreds of use cases that developers will build out.
    19 Jun 2013, 12:51 AM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    Sorry, meant to add that I expect pricing will be similar to the Nexus line at $199-$299. Nothing in Glass is so expensive that would warrant a huge price, and the data that Google will get with mass adoption is more valuable in the long run than a high profit margin in device sales. I doubt it will be sold at a loss, but they want consumers to use this in high numbers because the data is more valuable for long term monetization than the one time profit from the device sale.
    19 Jun 2013, 12:59 AM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    The average person wanting to take a photo or video of their child's first time riding a bike, first steps, or other scenario that would be better without holding a cell phone or camera isn't going to mind wearing Glass.

     

    The average person driving and wanting to change a Music Track, search for directions to where they're going, and initiate a Voice call, Text, or Hangout to let someone know they're on their way in a manner safer and less distracting than messing with their phone or in car GPS isn't going to mind using Glass.

     

    A traveler needing to translate a street sign or phrase into their language or vice versa without fumbling through apps on their phone isn't going to mind using Glass.

     

    A person wanting to instantly search for nearby Restaurants and get quick results with Zagat reviews that will give them walking directions without needing to touch their phone isn't going to mind using Glass.

     

    A mechanic under a car who is using both hands to work that needs to research instructions or reference images to help him complete repairs won't mind using Glass.

     

    An average teenage girl wanting another way to take and post pictures to Instagram that they can accessorize with interchangeable lenses and colored frames isn't going to mind using Glass. (I asked - her response was "That would be bad ass".)

     

    Its slightly more noticeable than a Bluetooth headset but isn't any worse than a set of high end over the ear headphones that has hundreds of use cases and much higher utility than either. These are just scratching the surface.

     

    In each of your assertions about how no one will want Glass, you haven't offered any type of proof that a majority of people share your opinion. I don't think it looks bad at all, but even if that were a concern, the frames are modular and lenses are interchangeable and we will likely see an accessory market spring up around this device.

     

    But that's fine, I'll keep adding to my position while the price is low, and when the FCC filings are released from confidentiality at the end of this month, pricing gets released, and sales take off, I'll be happily paying for my pair with Himax stock. :)
    19 Jun 2013, 01:51 AM Reply Like
  • SoldHigh
    , contributor
    Comments (991) | Send Message
     
    Anyone questioning the utility of Google Glass needs to think bigger.

     

    And if you can't, don't worry, there are others who are already doing it for you. Lead or follow...
    16 Jun 2013, 11:43 PM Reply Like
  • Panoplos
    , contributor
    Comments (844) | Send Message
     
    Personally, Google Glass use cases outlined by many are real, but HIMX is not going to be the technology to make this happen, as the resolution is inferior to other micro projector technologies.
    17 Jun 2013, 09:15 AM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    You don't need super high resolution with something that close to your eye. Plus, a lower resolution LCOS as opposed to Amoled or other higher resolution micro displays would allow much lower cost and easier mass market applications. Margins would be much higher than AMOLED, which at that size/scale/use case is comparatively much more expensive and difficult to manufacture.
    17 Jun 2013, 10:33 AM Reply Like
  • Panoplos
    , contributor
    Comments (844) | Send Message
     
    The point is, as others have contributed, these devices, though close to your eye, present a focal point that is much further away. The higher the pixel count, the more information you can display -- and one of the weakest points regarding Glass is the display is very limited.

     

    Also, there are other display technologies that put LCOS to shame, not just OLED. This is why I has consistently shared that I think HIMX technology is outdated.
    17 Jun 2013, 12:00 PM Reply Like
  • AndrewEvans01
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    I don't know what specific micro display technology you're referring to. If you can name a manufacturer and technology that can produce an HD microdisplay in mass quantities, likely millions, that isn't subject to supply disruptions and do their own fabrication at a $10-30 per unit cost, please share.

     

    In any case, with mobile tech you can't just swap out a component as important as the display on the turn on a dime because the firmware and drivers are programmed to exact specifications. All the other components that are sourced have drivers specifically configured to interact with that specific display. They would have to program everything from the ground up and the development cycle often takes months or up to a year on a product release. The components aren't modular. If Himax is building the display in the Explorer version, there is little chance of anyone else being selected this close to release without risking the display being incompatible with the other components.

     

    There comes a point where extra resolution is negligible or wasted at a certain distance from your eye. If you hold a 720p display and a 1080p display on a smart phone 3 inches from your face, the pixel density and viewable information will be indistinguishable.

     

    However, unlike a smartphone the distance Glass will be from your eye is fixed, not variable, so a higher resolution won't make a difference. It already is equivalent to a 25'' HDTV 8 feet away with the current display it has now.

     

    Its perfectly acceptable for something that isn't meant to monopolize your field of vision. It is meant to complement what you're seeing, not drown it out. A higher resolution would cost more and not deliver an added benefit, and a newer technology would likely be cost prohibitive to producing at scale.

     

    Karl Guttag is a very well known expert in this field and specifically on LCOS and other micro display technologies. There are very few companies who can produce this type of display at scale and if Google prices this like its Nexus devices in the $199-$399 range (which seems reasonable and likely when looking at the components), it has very high potential to sell in high volumes. Add the lack of because competing products from Apple or elsewhere and none on the horizon and that it will work across Android AND iOS and you have the recipe for huge sales numbers.

     

    I still haven't seen a compelling argument as to why, specifically, Glass will fail. Everyone I ask is excited about it and it's a great alternative to using your phone for GPS or texting while driving as your eyes are still on the road and it's no more dangerous than having a conversation, especially with Google Hangouts being enhanced to handle voice and SMS alongside video. That alone makes it a steal.
    18 Jun 2013, 11:57 PM Reply Like
  • Panoplos
    , contributor
    Comments (844) | Send Message
     
    Here are a couple companies:

     

    1. Syndiant: VueG8 is by far the strongest contender here (http://bit.ly/11Yx5xV)
    2. eMagin: OLEDoS (http://bit.ly/11Yx3pP)
    3. STMicroelectronics + MicroOLED (http://www.microoled.net)
    4. Kopin, Samsung, etc.

     

    Syndiant and eMagin are flabless, just like HIMX, which means they rely on the same high-volume manufacturing partners, so this argument is moot.

     

    Also, increasing the display size/resolution does not have the effects you hint at. You are not constantly looking into Glass, and when you are, you are doing so deliberately, so why not provide more area for information?

     

    Regarding the firmware driver, this work is carried out by the FAEs at the supplier, and can be completed in a few weeks' time. This is the most trivial aspect of the port. Also, software does not interface to the drivers directly, they work through several layers of display API's that abstract out the underlying logic.

     

    I never said Glass will fail. I think it will do well in industrial applications, and enjoy very minor uptake with geeks. However, mass adoption faces serious hurdles -- not least of which is the Borge-like appearance "Explorers" take on... Will this always be the case? I do not believe so, as technological progress will allow these devices to shrink; however, this will take several years. There is also the fact that everything Glass can do, your cell phone can do just as well. Are you willing to look like a moron simply to get instant hands-off directions? I am betting the vast majority of people will not.
    19 Jun 2013, 02:17 AM Reply Like
  • 1598901
    , contributor
    Comments (11) | Send Message
     
    So HIMX just continues to grow, expand, develop cutting edge technologies and relationships with large business clients, pay share holders a dividend 4x's bigger than last year, while the internet pundits continue to gush speculative slush that sends HIMX stock on a never ending roller coaster ride.
    Why don't folks who have so little to offer, in useless speculations, just let the company do the talking?
    17 Jun 2013, 06:32 PM Reply Like
  • Aaron.Rhodes
    , contributor
    Comments (356) | Send Message
     
    Lots of shorts piled on when they got head wind of the 5.25 pricing for the Innolux sale. The price will be deflated for a few days, I would think. Perhaps a mini-short squeeze is in order after all the good news disseminates.
    17 Jun 2013, 06:58 PM Reply Like
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