It appears Google can’t give up its augmented reality-bespectacled dream, striking a deal to buy Freemont, Calif.-based Raxium, a company that uses microLED tech to make small wearable devices, according to a report from The Information.
With Meta, Snap, and Apple all making microLED acquisitions for their own AR ambitions, the race is on for future AR headset and glasses releases. In December, the New York Times reported that Google was launching a new AR wearable project, though the company declined to confirm. Raxium was not the first to market with microLED, but says it makes the tech more cost effective. While details of the Google deal weren’t confirmed, Raxium is said to be valued at about $1 billion.
This isn’t the first time Google has made further investments in its AR glasses quest. In 2020, the company reportedly showered $180 million on North, a Canadian AR glasses startup.
At the time, Rick Osterloh, a Google hardware executive wrote on Google’s blog, “We’re building towards a future where helpfulness is all around you, where all your devices just work together and technology fades into the background,” Osterloh wrote.
Also fading into the background was the public rollout of Google Glass, the company’s much-hyped first attempt to enter the AR realm, despite several years of development and a public launch in 2014. While Google still makes an enterprise version of the hardware, the public version of Google Glass was laid to rest with little fanfare about five years ago.
But as the new buzz surrounding the metaverse continues to grab headlines, Google and many tech companies are beginning to develop AR and VR technologies around the concept. This purchase may be a signal that Google is changing gears with the wearable tech. And while its first public attempt fell flat, a forecast report by Statistica pegs the future AR and virtual reality (VR) market at $209 billion. Google did not return messages seeking comment.
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