Google’s latest acquisition could signal a re-entry into AR/VR hardware

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What do you want to know

  • Google has acquired Raxium, a maker of microLED displays for an unknown sum.
  • The potential billion-dollar acquisition follows a number of recent moves by Google to re-enter the AR/VR space.
  • MicroLED displays are also useful for other types of wearable devices such as smartwatches and foldable phones.

Google has officially acquired Raxium, a company that manufactures MicroLED displays. Google says Raxium was chosen for its work “creating miniaturized, low-cost, and energy-efficient high-resolution displays that laid the foundation for future display technologies.” In short, Google seems to want to make its own internal displays for future products just as it started making chipsets for the Google Pixel 6 last year. Raxium was previously watched by Snap, Meta, and Apple for the same reason.

Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, Rick Osterloh, announcement the acquisition in a rather short and unceremonious blog post. The brevity of the post hints that Google isn’t ready to publicly share its plans for using Raxium’s technology just yet, but that time could come soon. The rumor that Google was going to buy Raxium came in March, about two months after the first rumors about Google’s Project Iris, a new AR/VR headset from the company, started making the rounds.

MicroLED displays are said to be the future of XR technology – it’s the name used to encompass AR and VR technologies under one umbrella – as they perform much like an OLED display without the potential burn-in issues. But while this specific purchase of a microLED company would revolve around Google’s renewed hopes of creating new XR hardware, it’s also possible we could see it in the next Pixel Watch and Pixel Fold.

Indeed, like OLED displays, microLED displays are flexible and can more easily be created in unconventional shapes and sizes – think of a round smartwatch or a pair of smart glasses, for example – than an LCD display. Royole introduced its foldable and expandable microLED technology last year, proving the technology’s value for many portable uses.

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