Insight Media Consultant
Denmark- based company Mobintech A/S recently announced the launch of a digital "PDG," or Personal Display Glasses, that create an experience equivalent to watching a 30" TV at a distance of 2 meters. The PDG replaces the small screen on a mobile phone and, combined with integrated stereo earplugs, is hoping to revolutionize the market for Mobile TV. The unit features QVGA resolution (320 x 240 pixels) with 18-bit colors, using two all-digital low-power 0.24" OLED microdisplays.
Video eyeware is not new — perhaps a half-dozen companies have already sold such products, under the brands Argo, Estar, Honlai, I-3D, Vuzix, and Zetronix, and some have exhibited at CES for several years now. All of these are VGA or NTSC/PAL compatible, and are designed to replicate the "large screen" experience. So, what’s truly different? For one, an esthetic industrial design is clearly evident. Until now, most wearable displays looked like you had the bumper of an SUV on your face, after a rear-end collision. This device could almost be mistaken for high-fashion eyeware, especially in the all-black version.
Also, Mobintech’s PDG’s are said by the company to be the first digital PDG on the market, which they say offers new benefits such as double battery-time compared to viewing mobile TV on the phone screen, operation from the phone battery, no flickering from analog display glasses, and more mobility due to a lighter and smaller design. Company officials also say that the digital connection creates much sharper and clearer images compared to the analog solutions in the market. [Not sure to this writer why digital eliminates flicker, but it should be better than an analog interface, nonetheless. 3D is not mentioned in the press materials, but wouldn't be surprising in the future.]
All personal video devices currently require a tethered connection, due to the data rates of video; a new high-speed version of Bluetooth under development may change that in the future. Although promoted as a feature, the high-speed digital interface may initially limit the use of the display to phones with a compatible chipset. While the display uses a mini USB plug, the electrical interface is not USB, but MDDI, the Mobile Display Digital Interface. Developed by mobile hardware manufacturer Qualcomm, the 3.2 Gbps digital interface was originally intended to interconnect the upper and lower clamshells in a flip phone. The MDDI interface is integrated into select Qualcomm chipsets, and is a VESA approved standard.
Mobintech is a Danish based company supplying consumer accessories for Mobile phone users. The company specializes in the design, development and production of micro-display based products and low-power electronic products to be used by mobile phone users. The company plans to start production of the PDG in a few months, and the end-user price is €250 including VAT. Christian Zilstorff, CEO of Mobintech is optimistic about sales, saying that "[mobile carrier] MobiTV was signing up 1 million new users in just 3 months at the end of 2008 and have more than 5 million users by now." If the displays catch on, let’s hope that transportation officials won’t need to create a new "hands-free" law.