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Many big names working on head-mounted gear, Glass display maker says

Many big names working on head-mounted gear, Glass display maker says

Himax already supplies the display for Google Glass and says it's working with other major IT and electronics brands

The Taiwanese company that makes the display used in Google's Glass head-mounted display says it's working with multiple big-name electronics companies on head-mounted gadget products.

Himax executives wouldn't divulge the identities of the companies they are working with, but said they are big and sales should increase this year.

"We continue to work with multiple customers, quite a few of which are top-notch names in IT or the Internet space," said Jordan Wu, president and CEO of Himax, in a conference call with analysts. "Let me put it this way, they are all number one of something, and we have customers from all leading countries in the consumer electronics space."

"These days, people take extraordinary measures to protect the confidentiality of their new product launches," he said. "It is even more so for head-mounted products, because it is a totally new product category for everybody."

The displays use a technology called liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) that, as the name suggests, combines a liquid crystal layer on a silicon backplane. They have been most commonly found in projectors until now but are expected to become the dominant technology in head-mounted displays like Google Glass.

"We have made shipments for certain customers' pilot runs of production," Wu said. "Our LCOS sales are expected to accelerate in 2014."

Google purchased a 6.3 percent stake in Himax Display in July 2013. At the time, the two companies said the investment would be used to expand capacity at the company's LCOS factories.

Himax says it can produce up to 300,000 LCOS displays per month and its production line is "far from being full." But it already has a plan to expand production further, up to a maximum of 2 million displays per month.

"We have a very nice piece of land next to our headquarters," Wu said. He said major customers had already been told the amount of lead time that Himax would need to ramp production and meet their demands.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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