Google acquires MicroLED startup Raxium to help boost its AR ambitions

Raxium develops 'miniaturized, cost-effective and energy efficient high-res displays.'


Google has purchased a startup called Raxium specializing in MicroLED displays as part of its Devices & Services group, 9to5Google has reported. Raxium is developing what it calls "ultra-compact, low-power, high resolution" displays, so Google may be planning to use it in future augmented or virtual reality devices. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"Today we’re announcing that Google has acquired Raxium, an innovator in single panel MicroLED display technologies," wrote Google senior VP of Devices & Services, Rick Osterloh in a short blog post. "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."

A deal with Raxium was rumored last March in a report from The Information. Google was supposedly interested in owning the company to gain more control over key display components for future AR/VR products, rather than outsourcing as it generally does now. It could also use the tech on future Pixel phones or its Starline immersive videoconferencing product, according to the report.

To date, MicroLEDs have seen meager commercial production due to high manufacturing costs, apart from some very exotic products. Raxium, by contrast, says its on the "cutting edge of bringing monolithic integration" like that used in silicon computer chips, to MicroLEDs. That could allow them to be mass-produced far more cheaply.

Unlike Meta and other rivals, Google hasn't said much about its augmented reality plans, but that doesn't mean the company isn't working on it. Last year, news of Google's Augmented Reality OS leaked out late last year through job listings and the company reportedly plans to release an AR headset by 2024.