Silicon Micro Display has been touting their ST1080 HMD for a few months now. Back in December they announced that the retail price would be $799 — pricey, but comparative to Sony’s HMZ-T1. Pre-orders were supposed to start in January, but on January 1st, the company sent a message via email saying that they would be postponing pre-orders:

…due to on-going supplier delays around the holidays, we were not able to get demo units into the hands of technology reviewers in December. This means that there are no third-party reviews to help you make your purchase decision. With the 2012 CES in about a week, we’ve decided to postpone taking orders until after the CES when there will be plenty of reviews. This gives you more information upon which to make your purchase decision and it will provide us with much-needed time to strengthen our inventory position.

We feel that postponing the start of pre-orders is preferrable to taking your pre-orders and delaying the shipment. When we are ready to take your orders, we want you to be confident that your product will arrive within a reasonable amount of time.

While not the best news for anyone who was interested in ordering, I think this is a smart move. Sony underestimated demand for the HMZ-T1, and even after taking pre-orders, they were unable to meet the demand. This made for plenty of uptset early adopters.

Silicon Micro Display told me through twitter that “retail launch info” would be coming at some point this month, so I expect to hear more about their plans shortly.

Silicon Micro Display was also at CES 2012 to show off the ST1080 and the ST1080 DDK (display development kit). They have put together a great CES wrap-up page; I’ve done the work for you and sifted through it for the relevant bits:

  • “For the CES, we showcased our ST1080 as well as our core technology and next generation demo” [they are talking about their upcoming 4000 x 2000 resolution tech (8 million pixel screens), which they expect to be able to scale to 8000 x 4000 (32 million pixels)]
  • The ST1080 was shown off hooked up to a Blu-ray player, PS3, Xbox 360, and iPhone 4S.
  • Two colors are planned to be offered. We always knew about white (they call it pearl white), but a cool looking black model (jet black) made its debut at CES.
  • Here we can see the first ever full look around the ST1080 and the control unit that it is attached to.
  • “We used a darker lens cover to provide a better viewing experience (almost 0% transparency) in the very bright show room floor.” [sounds like they may offer different covers for different levels of transparency]
  • “If you’ve been following us, you may have notice something missing: we’ve replaced the type-D HDMI connector with a USB power port and removed the AC power adapter. This means one less thing you have to carry around with you. ” [at one point, the control unit was going to have HDMI type-D connector as well as type-A. Now it seems they are relying on type-A (full-sized) only, and in place of the type-D connector, they’ve put a USB port to power the controller instead of an AC adapter.]
  • “Another recurring feedback was about our excellent exit pupil. Exit pupil is the “sweet spot” that many HMD enthusiasts refer to when talking about the size of the area that’s in focus. The bigger the exit pupil, the better the viewing experience. HMDs get bumped and moved around on a users’s head regardless of ergonomic design, so having a large exit pupil is important to visual comfort.”
  • “We believe this market is ready for less hype and more follow through, so we’ve stayed in stealth-mode for quite some time. What we showed at the CES is very close to shipping.”
  • “We are working on the final product tweaks and getting our organization ready for volume production. We will send out some more units to technology reviewers so that there will be as much information as possible. We are not a big company with limitless marketing and PR budget, so we are taking a lean approach to how and where we market the ST1080. We will provide updates periodically on this website and through our Twitter and Facebook pages.”

So that’s where Silicon Micro Display stands right now with the ST1080. With their commitment to “less hype and more follow through”, I’m hoping that we’ll hear detailed launch info before the month is out.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."