Google has announced it bought North, a Canadian company that creates augmented reality glasses, for an undisclosed amount.
The two companies made clear Google wants to use North’s “technical expertise” to bolster its “hardware efforts and ambient computing future".
North, which launched the $1,000 Focals 1.0 in 2019 but quickly reduced the price to $600, had to lay off employees just last year.
Its Focals smart glasses can pair to your phone through Bluetooth to project images in front of your eyes. It displays notifications, serves up directions, and more. North plans to halt the glasses' functionality going forward, meaning you won't be able to use them. Keep in mind, last December, North stopped production on them to develop a second-generation model. That device, of course, is no longer in the works.
North plans to stay in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada. Google said it’s “committed to the growing global tech community” in North’s hometown.
As for how Google plans to use North's IP and expertise on hardware, Google still offers Google Glasses, a pair of AR smart glasses, but only for businesses and developers. It hasn't tried to offer a consumer version in years - in fact, Glasses for consumers is largely seen as a failed effort.
But we suspect Google hasn't entirely given up on the idea just yet.
Let's also not forget that rumours about an Apple AR headset have been kicking up. Cupertino is thought to be developing two headsets even.