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Google maxes out with new deal Featured

Google has moved a step closer to its future in wearable tech, acquiring a small stake in Taiwanese small display specialist Himax Technologies.

Reuters is reporting Google will take a 6.3% stake in Himax Display (HDI) and has an option to raise its stake to 14.8% within a year.

The news was confirmed by Himax through an official statement, although the company hasn't disclosed the financial details.

Himax said Google's investment would help fund production of liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) chips and modules, tiny devices used to project images inside head-mounted devices such as Google Glass as well as other products like heads-up displays (HUDs) and pico-projectors.

"Google is a pre-eminent global technology leader. We are delighted to receive this investment and to form a strategic partnership with Google," Jordan Wu, president and CEO of Himax, said.

"Beginning the second quarter of this year, we had already begun expanding capacity to meet demand for our LCOS product line. This investment from Google further validates our commitment to developing breakthrough technologies and state-of-the-art production facilities. We look forward to leveraging this investment and our collective expertise with Google to create unique and transformational LCOS technologies for many years ahead."

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013 subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, according to Reuters.

Himax focuses on developing commercial applications for LCoS technologies, in-house manufacturing expertise and production lines, while over the last few years the company has devoted its research and development of its LCoS technology for new applications of head-mounted display and other wearable computing applications, like Google Glass.

The news comes as rival Apple trademarked its 'iWatch' name in Japan and other countries, setting up a likely Google Glass/iWatch showdown for sometime later this year or perhaps next year.


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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun.