Google Buys UK-Based Phone Screen Speaker Startup

Latest Consumer Technology Products On Display At Annual CES In Las Vegas

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.

According to regulatory filings, the transaction, as a part of which Google's United Kingdom subsidiary bought all the shares of Redux holding company NVF Tech Ltd., was completed in December a year ago. It wasn't made clear when Google bought the startup or how much money it spent to buy Redux, but the acquisition happened in August 2017, according to Crunchbase.

The US tech giant snapped up Cambridge firm Redux which can turn screens into speakers using haptic feedback.

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Redux isn't the only company looking to transform screens into speakers. This kind of imitates the sensation that makes it feel like users are actually pushing buttons or adjusting sliders on a device's display. The same controlled vibrations could also be used to deliver haptic feedback through the display.

Although Redux has already integrated similar technology inside PCs and automotive infotainment systems, it has recently focused on bringing the same technology to mobile devices. 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. This technology has interesting ramifications and possible uses in Google's consumer lineup.

This would free up space for other components, such as larger batteries or a better cameras, in Google products such as Pixel phones. It could also improve waterproofing for future phones since it eliminates the need for speaker holes. Their technology has been created for mobile and consumer devices, home appliances, automotive and aerospace applications but can be tailored to nearly any bespoke application.

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