Micron enters micro projector business

Using FLCOS technology

MICRON IS A COMPANY best known for its memory products, but now the company has started to produce FLCOS micro projectors intended for various solutions such as handheld products, digital cameras, DVD players and toys. The company claims some major advantages compared to current micro projectors which use LCOS technology, specifically much better colour reproduction and a much faster switching time of the tiny liquid crystals.

This is of course not a retail product, since Micron doesn’t make retail products in the first place, but rather something to be integrated into the various devices that Micron suggests. The projector “engine” measures 33x31x12mm and it has WQVGA resolution which is somewhere around the 400×240 to 480×272 territory, but the press release doesn’t specify the exact pixel count. Thanks to Micron’s HPX (hexagonal pixel multiplication) technology the V100 pico projector engine has a claimed 20 percent denser diagonal PPI than competing solutions.

The F in FLCOS stands for ferroelectric which is a description of “how the liquid crystal is chemically organized of activated” although Micron goes on to say that it might as well stand for fast, as its FLCOS technology allows the pixels to be switched on and off at up to 100 times faster than your typical LCOS display, as the FLCOS has a switching speed of 1/10,000 of a second. This allows Micron to use field sequential colour which the company claims is a superior imaging technique that eliminates RGB pixel split. The V100 draws about 1.5W of power, although the press release doesn’t go into much detail with regards to how bright it is, but it mentions that it produces five colour lumens which is meant to make it three times brighter than projectors using a five lumen colour filter engine.

Micron does hint at pricing though, stating that the V100 “may be less than $30” although this depends on the quantity purchased of course. We’re not sure that the pico projector market is going to grow in a huge way, but Micron seems to disagree and is expecting a 78 percent CAGR and revenues in excess of $1 billion by 2014 based on figures from DisplaySearch. For now the pico projectors are severely lacking in terms of brightness and resolution, but if these two obstacles can be overcome, then this is a market with a lot more potential than it has today.S|A

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