Foxconn, who is also known as Hon Hai Precision, is now known pretty much globally. While not a household name, a whole lot more people than you might imagine are familiar with the name, no doubt because they manufacture the iPad and the iPhone for Apple. They've come under fire repeatedly for poor labor conditions in order to meet high demand of Apple devices and there have been deaths and suicides reported at their buildings in China. Unsurprisingly, Foxconn has built up quite the patent portfolio over the years, and word is that Google has recently purchased a good number of them.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Foxconn has sold a number of their communications technology patents to the search giant for an undisclosed sum. You might think that Foxconn is just the manufacturer for a good number of these devices and that patents are all held by Apple and co, but the company says they've applied for 128,400 patents and has had 64,300 patents granted worldwide. That's a decent amount of patents for a company known for simply producing everyone else's ideas.
With no concrete details on just what the patents specifically were, or how much Google paid for them, it's hard to judge just how useful Google will find them. No longer a company that just deals in online software, Google is a technology company responsible for Android that powers the vast majority of smartphones used worldwide. As such, they now have to deal with the likes of Apple, defending partners like Samsung in legal battles. Google might have been first when it comes to the internet, but the company was lagging behind in terms of patents for a long time, leaving them with important software like Android, but with no real patents to back it up. That's where the Motorola purchase came in and we're sure that this purchase from Foxconn won't be the last of its kind.
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has since published a small statement from Hon Hai Precision that states the patents are related to Google Glass:
"Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, a key Apple Inc. (APPL) supplier, said in a statement the patents sold to Google include Head Mounted Technology that generates "a virtual image and is superimposed on a real-world view."