Google Acquires North, the Smart Glasses Manufacturer

A pair of Focals smat glasses, a controller ring, and a phone.
North

When last we checked on Focals by North, the promising-looking smart glasses entered the market and then left. North promised to come back sometime in 2020 with a better second-generation product. Now Google says it is buying the company, which puts an end to Focals 2.0.

Focals by North were perhaps some of the better looking smart glasses you could buy. At first glance, you might even think they weren’t smart glasses at all. They worked much like Google Glass by embedding a tiny display in a lens. But instead of a strange square crystal in front of your eyes, Focals looked very similar to regular glasses.

But, they started as an expensive proposition—you had to lay down $1,000 at one of a few specialty stores that could handle the sizing process. That quickly dropped to $600, before the company stopped sales altogether.

The company promised to come back with a 2.0 option, but that’s off the table now. Google says it will buy North and integrate the company into its “hardware efforts and ambient computing future.” The company didn’t promise to keep North as a separate division.

For its part, North says outright that Foacls 2.0 won’t be released, and that it’s winding down Focals 1.0. That likely stings for anyone who dropped $1,000 on the glasses just a year and a half ago.

While it’s the end for a once-promising company, perhaps the tech North developed will lead to more viable products through Google’s considerably larger coffers.

Source: Google, North

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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