Google has acquired North, a Canadian AR glasses company. North started its operations back in 2012 under the name ‘Thalmic Labs’. North will join Google’s team based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada.
“We’re excited to have North join us in our broader efforts to build helpful devices and services…North’s technical expertise will help as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts and ambient computing future,” wrote Google’s Senior Vice President of Devices & Services Rick Osterloh in a blog post.
North will discontinue its current Focals 1.0 and will not be shipping Focals 2.0. The company launched Focals 1.0 at $999 in January last year. Focals 1.0 received a $400 price cut within a month and retailed at $599. However, North stopped selling Focals 1.0 last December.
According to North, support for existing customers will continue through the end of 2020. Notably, the company will issue refunds for all Focals purchases.
Google did not reveal the financial aspects of the deal but the estimated amount is somewhere around $180 million. In a separate blog post, co-founders of North – Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey, and Aaron Grant say the deal would significantly advance their shared vision.
“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,” said the co-founders of North in a joint statement.
It will be interesting to see how Google puts North’s experience in smart glasses to good use, as the company progresses with its goals towards ambient computing.