The big day for Snap that resulted in the debut of brand new augmented reality Spectacles smartglasses is turning into a big week.
On Friday, just as the company was still basking in the generally positive reception to its latest version of Spectacles, news dropped that Snap has acquired wave guide maker WaveOptics.
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The deal not only gives Snap a huge leg up on its competition in terms of producing AR smartglasses in the future, but it also signals in no uncertain terms just how committed to AR Snap really is, even far beyond the confines of the Snapchat social media app.
Snap's deal to buy the UK-based startup for $500 million — Snap's biggest acquisition ever — was first reported by The Verge. The first Snap product using WaveOptics technology is none other than the latest version of Spectacles, loosely known as Spectacles 4, but internally referred to by the Snap team as "Spectacles 2021."
According to the report, the WaveOptics team will immediately begin reporting to Snap's hardware director Steen Strand. The WaveOptics team tipped its hand a couple of weeks ago on Twitter when it posted a message hyping the mainstreaming of AR smartglasses.
WaveOptics is just the latest target of Snap's aggressive acquisition march. In January, Snap acquired Ariel AI to improve its tracking technology arsenal working on "real-time and high-accuracy 3D reconstruction of the human body shape from a single RGB image on mobile devices." And in April, Snap acquired Pixel8.Earth, a company devoted to developing AR cloud solutions.
The last time we reported on WaveOptics was a couple of years ago when the company landed a new $26 million funding round. In all, the company has raised roughly $65 million over the course of its pre-Snap life.
With the software platform support of Lens Studio and the installed user base of Snapchat, it looks like the combination of WaveOptics and Snap will supercharge the entry of AR smartglasses into the mainstream faster than many had anticipated.
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