Google Glass expansion prompts Google to invest in Himax

Google is getting a 6.3 percent stake in the Taiwanese chipmaker.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

Google is to take a stake in Taiwanese fabless chip company Himax.

According to Himax, Google has agreed to buy a 6.3 percent stake in Himax's liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) chips subsidiary. Semiconductors made by the unit, Himax Display, feature in Google Glass, as well as other head-mounted displays.

"The purpose of the investment is to fund production upgrades, expand capacity and further enhance production capabilities at HDI's [Himax Display's] facilities that produce liquid crystal on silicon chips and modules," the company said in a statement. Himax has also said it will put in its own funding to help increase Himax Display's expansion.

Google also has the option to buy a further 8.5 percent of the company next year. The deal, announced on Monday, is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Financial details were not disclosed.

The announcement of expanded capacity comes ahead of Google's expected consumer launch of Google Glass — slated for either the end of this year or in 2014, depending on which Google exec you listen to.

To date, Google Glass has only been available as to individuals taking part in the company's US-only Explorer programme, and winners of its #ifihadglass competition.

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