Google’s acquisition of MicroLED display company Raxium could boost its AR headset

  Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, confirmed that the company has acquired MicroLED display company Raxium.
  Raxium has been established for 5 years and is headquartered in Fremont, California, USA. The company’s core technology is MicroLED technology, and its main products are MicroLED displays for AR headsets and other devices. Although the exact terms of the acquisition will not be made public, Google values ​​Raxium at about $1 billion, according to The Information.
  According to analysis, Google’s acquisition of Raxium is also an important step for the company to deploy the metaverse. MicroLED technology can greatly improve the performance of the display, which is the next generation display in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) devices. key technology of the screen.
  There is also news that Google plans to integrate Raxium’s MicroLED technology for its latest AR headset. This is an important device in the project codenamed “Iris” currently being developed by Google Labs, and it is reported that the device is scheduled to start production in 2024.

Concept map of AR glasses application scenarios

  In fact, Google has made several moves in the AR space recently. The company’s latest wave of job ads includes a number of positions involving AR operating systems, as well as AR headset development for Project Iris.
  Although the metaverse and AR/VR fields have recently been brought up by Meta. In fact, before acquiring Raxium, Google also acquired Canadian smartglasses startup North in 2020. North’s AR glasses have tiny laser “projectors” on the frames that project images into the user’s eyes. Moreover, the AR glasses look almost the same as ordinary glasses. According to the analysis, the same technology is also likely to be used in the next-generation AR headset of Google’s Iris project, and the image will be projected onto the lens through a micro projector on the frame of the AR headset.

Google Glass

  Moreover, Google was one of the first companies to enter the AR field. It has developed the earliest consumer-grade AR device, Google Glass, but unfortunately this product was shelved due to controversy.
  Little is known that, after an unsuccessful launch of Google Glass as a consumer device, Google shifted its focus to solutions for the workplace, with gains in areas such as healthcare, noted Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT. related achievements.
  With the rise of concepts such as the Metaverse, consumers are more open to wearing devices such as AR glasses and AR headsets.
  However, Charles King believes that Google does not have much interest in telling the story of the metaverse. Google’s acquisition of Raxium was more about expanding Google’s stronger, business-focused AR strategy. Moreover, the acquisition also sounded alarm bells for its competitors.
  MicroLED is a promising emerging technology for display screens, which has been regarded as the best choice for next-generation AR displays due to its more energy-efficient, bright environment, and vivid colors.
  In the field of displays, OLED was once regarded as the most ideal choice for AR applications due to its high pixel density and no need for a backlight. However, the limitation of OLED application in the AR field is that since AR headsets are mostly used in sunlight-illuminated environments, the low-brightness environment required by OLEDs may become a problem.
  ”MicroLED can be used in a brighter environment than OLED, which is especially important for AR smart glasses that need to be used outdoors,” said Guillaume Chansin, director of display research at DSCC, a display research organization
  . OLED technology is different, MicroLED and liquid crystal display (LCD) are also inorganic, but it also has the high brightness, good color fidelity, high resolution and high contrast quality of OLED. What’s more, MicroLEDs are less energy efficient, a key requirement for wearables like AR headsets. This is one of the reasons why this technology has become a key technology for strategic investment in the smart glasses field.

AR glasses can be used in a variety of different occasions

  It is reported that although Raxium has not yet launched a product on the market, it has developed a better Micro LED manufacturing technology that will use the same silicon as the raw material for most processors and will significantly reduce production costs. Currently, Micro LED technology is mainly used for wall-mounted signage and its expensive large-size screens.
  Besides Google, many other hardware companies are also investing and developing in the Micro LED space. For example, the Air Glass released by OPPO at the end of 2021 is already equipped with Micro LED technology.
  Apple acquired a Micro LED startup in 2014; Meta is also working with Plessey to develop Micro LED technology; Samsung’s Micro LED TVs are already on the market.
  In the field of AR devices, Google has many competitors. In addition to rebranding the Oculus Quest as “Quest” and launching the Quest 2 virtual reality headset, Meta is currently working on a new AR device codenamed “Project Cambria.” Apple is also said to be working on MR headsets and an AR glasses. Additionally, both Meta and Apple have acquired AR startups in recent years.
  It is also reported that Microsoft has also released an AR device called “HoloLens”. Snap Inc. has released smart glasses called “Spectacles”, and the recently released flying camera Pixy has also added AR effects.