Courtesy: North

Google formally announced on Tuesday that it is buying North, the Canadian smart glasses firm — a deal that had been reported last week to be in the works.

Why it matters: The move shows that Google, one of the earliest to explore high-tech eyewear, remains interested in the category.

  • Along with the acquisition, North said it was cancelling plans for its next generation of glasses. "We are winding down Focals 1.0 and we will not be shipping Focals 2.0, but we hope you will continue the journey with us as we start this next chapter," North's founders said in a blog post.

Between the lines: Augmented reality glasses are seen as the next big thing in mobile devices — but they're also still a couple of years from being ready for prime time due to high costs, poor battery life and bulk. Those factors have made it tough for North and other startups in the field.

  • Magic Leap has had its highly publicized troubles, while another pioneer — Osterhout Design Group — folded last year.

For the big companies, though, AR remains an area of keen interest.

Separately: Google has begun public testing of "Nearby Share," an AirDrop competitor that is coming to Android devices.

Go deeper: Google will start paying publishers to license content

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Aug 5, 2020 - Technology

Samsung debuts Note 20, new foldable smartphone

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Photo: Samsung

Samsung unveiled its crop of new mobile devices Wednesday, including two versions of the Note 20 smartphone, an updated foldable device, two tablets and a watch.

Why it matters: The new devices aim to give Samsung an early start in the second half of the year, with products aimed at parents buying fresh gear for the back-to-(home)school season.

How small businesses got stiffed by the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The story of American businesses in the coronavirus pandemic is a tale of two markets — one made up of tech firms and online retailers as winners awash in capital, and another of brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shops that is collapsing.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has created an environment where losing industries like traditional retail and hospitality as well as a sizable portion of firms owned by women, immigrants and people of color are wiped out and may be gone for good.

Apple's antitrust fight turns Epic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millions of angry gamers may soon join the chorus of voices calling for an antitrust crackdown on Apple, as the iPhone giant faces a new lawsuit and PR blitz from Epic Games, maker of mega-hit Fortnite.

Why it matters: Apple is one of several Big Tech firms accused of violating the spirit, if not the letter, of antitrust law. A high-profile lawsuit could become a roadmap for either building a case against tech titans under existing antitrust laws or writing new ones better suited to the digital economy.