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Google steps up their VR game and acquires Raxium, a MicroLED startup

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Google has announced the acquisition of Raxium, a tech startup specializing in MicroLED technologies. The latter, due to its ability to make high-quality displays, yet small and energy efficient, is perfectly suited for use in VR and AR headsets.

Therefore, this move could be the next step in Google’s ambition to gain a more dominant position in the augmented/virtual reality market.

This information was originally disclosed in a blog post by one of Google’s senior vice presidents, Rick Osterloh, but many of the crucial details are missing. Even the basics such as the financial settlement were not made available to the general public.

For now, only two things are certain. First, Raxium will join the company’s Devices & Services division. Second, they will play a role in advancing Google’s growing hardware efforts.

The end goal is simple. Namely, to “build useful devices and services to improve people’s daily lives,” as Osterloh put it in the original blog post.

Google hopes they will play a role in shaping the future of display technologies through Raxium. It is increasingly likely that Google has long-term ambitions to play a leading role in the growing augmented/virtual reality market.

Google has made other decisions in this endeavor before. In 2020, the company acquired another startup: the smart glasses manufacturer North. Google is also reportedly working on an AR operating system, based on recent recruitments and job openings.

All of this culminates in “Project Iris,” the codename for Google’s take on augmented reality. Currently, the product is in an early stage of development and a launch date before 2024 is unrealistic.

Google also goes to great lengths to keep information about Project Iris to a minimum, especially as their ill-fated former AR product (Google Glass), whose highly anticipated debut was met with a wave of disappointment. It is therefore not surprising that, at least for now, no clear connection has been made between Project Iris and the acquisition of Raxium.

That much is beyond question though – Google wants to compete with the other big VR players like Meta. Perhaps Raxium can give it one of the means to do that.

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