Illustration for article titled Snap Doubles Down on Smart Glasses Line, AR Display Supplier Acquires for More than $ 500 Million

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Snap relies on its augmented reality smart glasses, regardless of whether consumers want them or not. Right after the announcement the latest generation Its Spectacles line announced that Snap has agreed to acquire WaveOptics, which supplies the AR displays for its frames, for more than $ 500 million. the edge reported Friday.

In a statement emailed to Gizmodo, Snap confirmed that the deal is worth over $ 500 million in cash and stock, with roughly half paid in stock upfront. The remaining amount will be paid out in cash or in stock over the next two years.

WaveOptics mainly develops waveguides, the technical displays in AR glasses that allow virtual images to be superimposed on the real world, and projectors to direct light onto these waveguides. Snap’s fourth generation glasses use WaveOptics’ lenses but are not currently sold to the general public. Instead, Snap rolls them out to a select number of AR effect creators first while they keep tweaking the technology.

This deal is not exclusive, which means that WaveOptics will continue to supply other companies with its waveguides as it works with Snap on custom optical systems, a Snap spokesperson told Verge. Even so, Snap is sure to put up a valuable leg up in the emerging but rapidly evolving AR headset market. Competitors like Google and Facebook are reportedly building their own waveguide technology to power their AR frames. Apple picked up the waveguide maker Akonia in 2018 for its long rumors Apple glasseswhich could be announced as early as next year.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said CNBC on Friday that the company has worked with WaveOptics for “many years” to develop waveguides for its smart glasses.

“These are really sophisticated and complex components,” he said. “This really is a long-term investment in the future of eyewear.”

Snap has been on something of a buying frenzy lately, with WaveOptics being the fourth and for sure one of the biggest acquisitions of the year. In March bought it Fit Analytics, a clothing size analysis company such as: $ 124 million as part of a larger foray into e-commerce. Snap picked up too credibility in January and Pixel8Earth in April for their mapping tools to develop location based services.

If Snap is ready to invest $ 500 million in the future of Spectacles, it must be assured that this latest version will be a success. Because Lord knows this was not the case with the previous three. Snap’s first-generation glasses are said to have cost the company $ 40 million in unsold inventory “Hundreds of thousands” of pairs left to collect dust in camps. Later models did a little better, but still couldn’t muster much fanfare, at least in part because they were significantly higher price Keywords.

Maybe the fourth time is the stimulus? Snap sure seems to hope so.

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