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Snap Buy Augmented Reality Company WaveOptics for Over $500 Million

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Highlights:

  • Snap recently unveiled a new version of its ‘Spectacles’ glasses.
  • The company is spending a lot of money on WaveOptics.
  • It will pay $500 million for WaveOptics in stock and cash.

Snapchat is acquiring WaveOptics, an AR startup that makes the waveguides and projectors used in AR glasses. Snap, along with other tech giants like Facebook Inc and Apple Inc, are racing to build AR devices as the next technological frontier after the smartphone.

Snap is paying over $500 million for the startup, in a cash-and-stock deal. The first half of that will be coming in the form of stock when the deal officially closes, and the remainder will be payable in cash or stock in two years.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said:

“It will take roughly a decade before AR glasses become compelling enough for mass adoption like mobile phones. The company had been working with WaveOptics for “many years” to develop waveguides”.

The new Spectacles won’t be available to the public, and will only be available to AR developers who use the glasses. The company’s approximately 125 employees will now report to Snap’s director  Steen Strand, and WaveOptics will continue to provide waveguides to other companies besides Snap.

Snap New Spectacles Features:

Snap unveiled a new version of its Spectacles glasses, to incorporate AR with two built-in cameras, speakers, and four microphones.

  • The new, fourth-generation Spectacles include displays that will enable the wearer to view AR effects without the need to use a smartphone’s camera.
  • The newest Snap Spectacles with WaveOptics tech feature a 26.3-degree field of view.
  • It is smaller than more bulky AR headsets like Microsoft’s Hololens.
  • Snap’s glasses are designed to display their AR effects brightly both indoors and outdoors.
  • The glasses also weigh 134 grams, far more than a normal pair of glasses.

The vision behind AR eyewear is that it could allow a user to virtually see route directions in front of them, or see information about a landmark in their surroundings.

Last year, Google bought North, which makes holographic smart glasses called Focal. They display information, can read text messages, and can connect to Alexa.

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