I’ve been tracking Silicon Micro Display’s ST1080 head mounted display ever since they announced it back in early November. We’ve already seen most of the specs, but one thing that was missing was the price. I was excited by the prospect of the ST1080 because Silicon Micro Display had claimed that “companies like MyVu, Vuzix, and eMagin have sold HMDs to the consumer market, but gained little traction due to high cost…”, then went ahead to say that the company would be addressing that issue with the ST1080. Did they manage to reel the ST1080 in at a reasonable price? Find out right after the fold.
Announced first via opt-in email, the price for the ST1080 is $799. This is by no means cheap, but they did match Sony’s HMZ-T1 pricing (making this comparison post even more relevant), which was obviously an important bar for them to hit. I was really looking forward to the ST1080 hitting the market around $400, but that was probably just wishful thinking. The pricing will be officially listed on the company’s website on 12/8.
The $799 pricetag puts the ST1080 decidedly up there into the home-theater-enthusiast category, but considering that the target usage (augmented reality) is still very much in the early adopter stage, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. The company’s announcement spells out a reasonable case for the price of the ST1080:
The ST1080 is the only product in its category to offer Full HD (1080p or 2 million pixels), mobility through USB power, and 10% transparent displays for an augmented reality viewing experience. And at this price, the ST1080 defines a new standard for performance and affordability.
Of course that depends if you’re looking at the ST1080 as a 3D home theater display or as an augmented reality platform. Still, you’ve got to at least admire the folks from Silicon Micro Display — in the chicken-and-egg game of hardware/software development, they’ve taken the risk of putting the hardware out there for augmented reality developers to make use of.
Speaking of developers, Silicon Micro Display has shown us previously that they plan to release a version of the ST1080 that they are calling the Display Development Kit (DDK). This will cost $8000, but it’s for more than the developer version of the ST1080 alone. The DDK will come with “two display modules, driver electonrics, GUI control software, register map, and interface hardware” as well as “engineering materials and basic engineering support.” For those involved in the production and manufacturing of video displays, that might mean more to you than it does to me!
Pre-orders for the ST1080 and the ST1080 DDK will begin in December, with specific dates to be announced in the near future. Additionally, Silicon Micro Display will have the ST1080 on display at this year’s CES, and that will likely be the first time anyone outside of the company will have a chance to give it a try; stay tuned here for hands-on reports when CES comes around in January!