Google confirms it is acquiring smart glasses maker North – Business Insider
  • Google is acquiring smart glasses maker North, the companies have confirmed.
  • The price of the deal is unknown, although a previous report claimed Google was buying the company for $180 million
  • “North’s technical expertise will help as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts and ambient computing future,” said Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh.
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Smart glasses maker North announced it is being acquired by Google, confirming previous rumors.

North’s co-founders reported the deal in a post on the company’s website. Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh also announced the news in a Google blog post.

North’s team will join Google in Kitchener, Waterloo, Ontario – where North is based now – and work with Google’s hardware team. 

“North’s technical expertise will help as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts and ambient computing future,” wrote Osterloh.

North also confirmed it would not move ahead with its planned second-generation smart glasses, which the company had already been demoing behind closed doors.

More annoying for users of the Focals 1.0 glasses, the company said it will stop supporting the glasses at the end of July. However, the company said it will issue full refunds “for all paid Focals orders” starting June 30.

The exact price of the deal is unknown, but an earlier report from the Globe and Mail claimed the amount was around $180 million. The report also said North would be “stripped for parts” in the deal.

And while it’s not completely clear what North will be doing at Google, the fact it will be joining the hardware division is notable and further hints at Google’s ambitions in the augmented reality space.

Not only that, but Google is making a big push in wearables right now. The company is in the middle of trying to acquire Fitbit, and while its smartwatch efforts have been much slower to gain traction than Apple’s, Qualcomm just announced a new chipset that could give the company’s Wear OS smartwatches a shot in the arm.

“Over the last while, it became clear that aligning with Google would significantly advance our shared vision,” wrote the North co-founders in the post announcing the acquisition.

“This acquisition is a terrific fit for North and, importantly, we’re staying here in Kitchener-Waterloo. We’re proud to have grown our company in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and are thankful for the tremendous support we’ve received from the community. We are looking forward to remaining in the region with Google.”


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