Announced this week, Google has officially acquired Raxium. While the details surrounding the acquisition are sparse, the very short post by Rick Osterloh over on The Keyword gives us a few hints at what Google may be up to with this latest move.
Today we’re announcing that Google has acquired Raxium, an innovator in single panel MicroLED display technologies. The team at Raxium has spent five years creating miniaturized, cost-effective and energy efficient high-resolution displays that have laid the foundation for future display technologies. Raxium’s technical expertise in this area will play a key role as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts.
Raxium is based in Fremont, California and will join Google’s Devices & Services team. We’re thrilled to have the team at Raxium on board to help further our goal of building helpful devices and services to improve people’s daily lives.via The Keyword
How Google will actually leverage this new ability is anyone’s guess, but a quick look at Raxium’s website gives us a decent clue as to how this could go. Raxium’s main claim to fame is their microLED technology, allowing for wildly-small pixel sizes for things like AR glasses, VR headsets and Light Field Displays (a.k.a. holographic 3D images).
Could we also see Google leveraging Rexium’s display tech for Pixel Phones or smart displays? Sure, but it would likely be a waste on those products as we already have trouble discerning individual pixels on standard phone displays as it is. Further increasing the pixel density wouldn’t have much impact on the day-to-day use for end users.
More likely, Google is readying itself to make another play in the AR/VR space and/or planning some wild Light Field Displays for upcoming Nest Hub devices. We all know about Google Glass and the odd journey of the whole Cardboard/Daydream project. Could Google be ready to take another swing at either of those? Maybe both? Raxium’s microLED enables pixels that are up to 300x smaller than Super AMOLED, 1000x brighter (millions of nits) and operate at 50% of the power needed by current display tech. This all sounds like a very good fit for situations where battery size is key – like glasses or headsets.
For now, we clearly don’t know what exactly Google is up to. What I do feel confident of, however, is the fact that odds are quite slim that this type of display tech will be in a Pixel phone anytime soon. The move to acquire Raxium is clearly about something a bit different, and I’m excited to see what that might be. Personally, I’m rooting for an updated Google Glass. But I suppose some sort of VR move could be cool, too.