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12 January 2018, 12:31 | Virginia Benson
Google Acquires Redux, a Startup That Integrates Speakers into Smartphone Displays
United Kingdom startup Redux had developed a way to use vibrations in a surface - such as a touchscreen display - to emit sound, thus allowing the device to do away with a dedicated speaker, Bloomberg reports. So not only can the company's tech turn a flat surface like the screen of a phone into a pair of speakers, but it can also be used to provide focused haptic feedback-for instance, to make certain parts of the screen "feel" different.
Google has declined to comment on the acquisition, including how much might have been paid for Redux.
Redux technology could put more weapons in Google's smartphone arsenal as it continues to compete with Apple and other smartphone makers. One obvious benefit there is the fact that this would allow manufacturers to remove speaker modules and free up space for other components, like bigger batteries. According to regulator filings, the shares of Redux' holding company were transferred to Alphabet in early December a year ago.
"Redux has developed breakthrough technology which transforms the user experience by bringing surfaces to life with Sound and Touch", it said in an "about us" section of the company. Backed by investors including Arie Capital, Redux raised $5 million in March 2017, and concentrated on markets including computing, mobile, automotive and industrial controls.
So far, Redux has only been able to integrate its technologies inside PCs and some infotainment systems for vehicles, but none have made its way to commercially available mobile devices yet.
Google (GOOG, GOOGL) acquired a United Kingdom speaker tech startup late past year for undisclosed terms.
It is unclear what work the Redux team will do for Google, or already has been doing, but it's possible that they could be working to use the technology to improve the sound quality of Google's own smartphones. Google did not say how it plans to implement Redux's technology.
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