According to a report by The Globe and Mail, Google’s parent company, Alphabet is reportedly in final talks to acquire Waterloo-based North.
The deal is said to be worth around $180 million USD. This news comes just a couple months after the company revealed their Focals 2.0 smart glasses, set for a 2020 release.
The Focals 2.0 is 40% lighter and sleeker than the original and with a 10x sharper improved retinal display that shows the information on the lens itself instead of projections.
When I reviewed the first-gen North Focals, they offered a good experience but with room for improvement.
Sales for the first-gen Focals were said to be “minuscule”, one source told The Globe and Mail, “it’s unlikely North sold many more than 1,000 pairs. Its only retail stores, in Toronto and Brooklyn, N.Y., often went days without a single sale.”
North is said to slowly be running out of money, with an estimated $3 million USD be spent by the company every month, down from $6 million.
If this deal is true, this could help Google re-enter the consumer smart glasses market, just a few years after pivoting Google Glass for enterprise users.
It’s also unclear if North would stay a separate entity under Alphabet or be merged into Google’s AR/VR division.