Google Buys UK Startup Redux That Turns Surfaces into Speakers


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Alphabet’s Google has quietly acquired a UK startup focused on technology that turns surfaces such as phone displays into speakers.

Redux developed technology that eliminates the need for small speakers in mobile phones, freeing up space for batteries or other components, the Cambridge based startup said on its now defunct website.

It is unclear when Alphabet — via an Ireland-based subsidiary of Google acquired Redux, but the transfer of shares of Redux holding company NVF Tech to the US tech giant was confirmed on December 13, according to UK regulatory filings.

As for what Google could do with Redux, the search giant may build smartphones that eschew speakers. That would surely help with any bezel-less ambitions Google might have with the Pixel line, seeing how the Pixel 2 XL trends in that direction, though the phone features two front-facing speakers.

Google could also improve its smartphones’ haptic feedback, though the company could also license out Redux’s technology and gain some revenue — according to Redux’s LinkedIn page, the company has 178 granted patents and over 50 pending patent applications. Prior to its acquisition, Redux focused not only on the mobile market, but also on the computing, automotive, and industrial markets, so its technology seems flexible enough to be used in several fields.

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