Last Updated on June 19, 2021
On June 30, 2020, Google confirmed that it had acquired North – the Canadian-based smart glasses startup best known for its ingenious Focals glasses. Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Mail and The Globe reported that the deal was worth $180 million.
This announcement might have been received with mixed reactions within the global community of eyeglass wearers. Or maybe not. Because until June 2020, not so many people knew that there was actually a Canadian-based company making top-of-the-range eyepieces that utilize the concept of in real life (IRL) heads-up display.
But what is it that gives Focals by North an edge over other custom-made eyeglasses? Read on to find out.
More About Focals by North
Focals by North are smart, augmented reality (AR) glasses designed to display notifications from your smartphone to your sightline. These glasses function in the same manner as Apple Watch, but with the extra advantage of moving notifications from your hand to your face.
Although they’re technically AR glasses, Focals by North weren’t designed primarily for gaming or content consumption. Instead, the manufacturer intended for them to offer the wearer real-time, seamless access to their phone. The most remarkable thing about these glasses is that only the wearer can see the notifications.
Besides displaying your phone notifications to your sightline, Focals by North also allow you to perform a range of tasks, including:
• Checking the date and time
• Checking map directions
• Responding to SMS and email
• Calling an Uber
• Using the gaming apps on your phone
• Monitoring the weather
• Following up on flights
• Keeping tabs with the performance of your favorite teams
• Interacting with other productivity apps, such as Alexa, Spotify, and Google Fit
Another cool feature of Focals by North is a smart response system intended to offer users hands-off interaction with their phone whenever they receive a notification. This system comes with two options – you can either choose from a list of smartly-generated responses or utilize speech-to-text via the built-in Alexa integration.
And despite their innovative features, it’s reassuring to note that Focals glasses still come with a touch of style and elegance. The glasses sport a stylish and trendy outlook. Paired with the right attire, Focals by North can help you make a strong fashion statement.
How Do Focals by North Work?
Focals by North sync with your smartphone via Bluetooth, just as regular smartwatches operate. The glasses come with a ring that’s outfitted with a nub of a joystick, also known as the Loop. The Loop is meant for wearing on the index finger of a user’s dominant hand.
Once the notifications are displayed in your sightline, you use the Loop to navigate the content and decide what action to take.
However, you don’t necessarily need to wait for Focals to display notifications on your face. If you’d like to seek information proactively, you can easily do so by clicking the joystick and scrolling.
Are There Areas Needing Improvement?
The only notable drawback to Focals by North is their relative bulkiness. But that’s by no means a deal-breaker, considering the many innovative features these glasses come with.