While there’s no official confirmation yet, multiple sources are saying that Google is in the process of acquiring Lytro, the light field specialists with a line in unique cameras, in a deal worth up to $40m.
This news comes shortly after Google showed off its app for displaying immersive light-field photography in virtual reality, as well as its techniques for capturing it. With that in mind, an acquisition of Lytro – and Lytro’s 59 patents in light field technology – makes a lot of sense for Google.
Lytro began as a camera company, unveiling its first light field camera in 2011 and raising some serious investor capital. The big unique selling point of the light field camera was the user’s ability to change an image’s focus point post-capture.
In 2014 Lytro unveiled its follow-up camera, the Lytro Illum. Reviews praised many aspects of the camera, especially the light field technology, although they were also critical of the low resolution of the final images, as well as the slow operating speeds and the eye-watering four-figure price tag. Sales, it’s fair to say, were not stratospheric. Subsequently, the firm announced a shift in focus (pun semi-intended) towards VR.
So, does this mean an end to Lytro light field consumer cameras? It’s not clear yet, but all signs point towards a continued focus on VR and VR-capturing technology, which probably means an end to models like the Illum. We’ll keep you posted with any updates on the future of Lytro.
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