Google buys smart glasses company North

Google buys smart glasses company North

Focals north

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Google

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The second generation of North’s Focals was expected to be shipped soon but is now on hold

Google bought a company that manufactures smart glasses, following the bankruptcy of Glass, to enter the mass market.

North, founded in Canada in 2012, said it would now “cut back” on support for its first generation Focals.

And he wouldn’t ship the next version.

Google’s senior vice president for devices and services, Rich Osterloh, wrote: “We are building a future where utility is all around you, where all your devices work together and technology fades into the background.”

Apple and Samsung are also said to launch glasses, while Facebook’s Oculus division is looking to transform the mass market of virtual reality.

Holographic display

North’s Focals hides a computer processor, a battery and a Bluetooth module in the frame arms.

Controlled via a ring called Loop and compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, a holographic display allows users to see notifications or even call a taxi.

A basic pair costs $ 599 (£ 480), with prescription lenses an extra $ 200.

CCS Insight analyst Leo Gebbie said he tried North’s smart glasses and needed further refinements, but still represented a “crystal ball” on how technology could evolve.

“The original Google Glass has become a notorious feat for the company,” he added.

“But the product was probably just ahead of its time.

“Smart glasses could be a revolutionary technological element. And many Google services, such as Maps, would be perfectly compatible with the right hardware.”

The race for the smart glasses market “is likely to explode in life in the coming years,” he added.

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