Osram Opto Semiconductors announced the launch of its first direct green laser (DGL) diodes yesterday and called out the significance for the pico projector market. “The commercial breakthrough for compact laser projectors is closer than ever before,” said Stephan Haneder, Marketing Manager for Consumer Lasers at Osram Opto Semiconductors. The release expanded on Haneder’s statement, noting that the compact laser diodes have a particularly high beam quality so they represent a milestone in the development of miniature projectors for mobile devices such as smartphones and cameras. Osram discussed the benefit of the DGL diodes specifically for MEMS based pico projectors such as MicroVision’s PicoP® display technology in the release. These statements and more detailed specs can be found on the Osram website.
This news was greeted enthusiastically here at MicroVision but it was no surprise. We have been updating shareholders throughout 2012 that we expected several DGL suppliers to be in the market by the end of 2012 which is exactly what we see with Osram joining the supplier to Pioneer that has been providing commercial DGLs for its Cyber Navi HUD product that is now selling in Japan. In addition to these two commercial supply sources, Sony has announced its intention to enter the DGL market with Sumitomo. Multiple suppliers for this component for PicoP display technology eases concerns OEMs may have about a single supplier and it can help drive availability up and price down through competition. We have discussed at length the benefits of DGLs over synthetic green lasers including a standard, smaller size, lower prices and higher volumes and yields.
When MicroVision was making the SHOWWX product line built around a Gen1 PicoP display engine, we had a direct supply relationship with laser manufacturers. Under our B2B “Image by PicoP” ingredient brand business model whereby we are licensing PicoP display technology to OEMs and ODMs and supplying MEMS, ASICS, software and reference designs, red, blue and green lasers will be procured directly by the OEMs or ODMs, not MicroVision. The role and importance of the lasers in PicoP display technology has not changed, and we stay engaged with the laser suppliers and the developments in the industry for our R&D efforts and advancement of PicoP display technology. What has changed is that we will not be buying any quantity of lasers to manufacture light engines.
We know that DGL supply has been a much anticipated and analyzed topic in the past for MicroVision followers and rightfully so. We are therefore truly delighted to share this news from Osram with investors and stakeholders in MicroVision.