Google quietly buys United Kingdom startup Redux

Muriel Hammond
January 12, 2018

Alphabet Inc.'s Google has quietly acquired a British technology startup focused on technology that turns surfaces such as phone displays into speakers, according to a Bloomberg report on Thursday.

Founded in 2013 and led by Nedko Ivanov, Redux has developed technology that aims to enable "customisable, high-resolution haptic feedback and speakerless surround-sound audio", according to the company's online profile.

Google declined to comment on the price and details of the deal. This technology can free up space in the devices, creating room for batteries or other components. As per the company's LinkedIn page, Redux has 50 pending patent and has been granted 178 patents. The transfer of shares of Redux's holding company NVF Tech was confirmed by United Kingdom regulatory filings on 13 December, but Crunchbase says the deal happened in August.

The system by Cambridge-based Redux could eliminate the need for small speakers to be used in mobile phones.

Alphabet Inc is the parent company of Google and owns numerous companies, and continues to acquire even more. The acquisition could prove useful to Google, and could change the way it designed its future Pixel smartphones. Redux could help develop the sound for their new models.

So far, Redux has only been able to use its technologies inside PCs and some vehicle infotainment systems - but that could be about to change.

Google has already removed the headphone jack from the its latest Pixel phone, now it looks as though the company is heading in a direction where it will be able to send the speaker packing too.

The last public communication from Redux was in April 2017, when it unveiled its Panel Audio technology, which uses haptic vibrations and "bending wave" sounds to turn smartphone and tablet screens into high-quality speakers.

At the CES consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas this week, Google is heavily promoting its voice-controlled speakers that compete with Amazon's Echo device.

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