Google quietly acquires British tech startup Redux that turns screens into speakers

Cambridge-based Redux bought by Google

Google Acquires Redux, a Startup That Integrates Speakers into Smartphone Displays

Alphabet Inc.'s Google has quietly acquired a United Kingdom startup focused on technology that turns surfaces such as phone displays into speakers. According to regulator filings, the shares of Redux' holding company were transferred to Alphabet in early December past year.

The Redux panel speaker uses patented bending-wave technology to produce superb audio directly from a vibrating surface, without the need for a bulky enclosure.

On Wednesday night, a report revealed on Bloomberg quietly that Google acquisition of "Redux" could have major implications down the road. In March of previous year, it raised $5 million in funding, with Crunchbase noting that the deal took place in August, with an Irish-based subsidiary of Google conducting the deal. "Moreover, our surface audio technology is more power efficient than traditional micro speakers, which means people can play music and watch videos on their phones for longer between charges". The acquisition could prove useful to Google, and could change the way it designed its future Pixel smartphones.

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Redux isn't the only company looking to transform screens into speakers. The current Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were criticized by some quarters for not trimming their bezels quite as aggressively as other devices on the market did.

According to Redux's LinkedIn page, Google Inc (GOOG) could also improve its smartphones' haptic feedback, though the company could also license out Redux's technology and gain some revenue, the company has 178 granted patents and over 50 pending patent applications. At the CES consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas this week, Google is heavily promoting its voice-controlled speakers that compete with Inc.'s Echo device. Its main Google division started selling its own smartphones in 2016, so new engineering talent from Redux may help the company develop handsets with better sound.

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