ibusinesslines.com March 20, 2018

Google could turn the next Pixel's touchscreen into a speaker

11 January 2018, 09:44 | Justin Tyler

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Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that Google has quietly acquired a United Kingdom startup which aims to turn surfaces, such as phone displays, into speakers.

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 past year.

On Wednesday night, a report revealed on Bloomberg quietly that Google acquisition of "Redux" could have major implications down the road.

Details of the deal remain undisclosed, but it's worth noting that Redux closed a $5m round in March a year ago from investors including Arie Capital. Redux is able to turn screens into a speakers by vibrating the screen itself.

According to Crunchbase.com, Redux Labs was founded in 2013 and had 11 - 50 employees. Redux is the developer of an innovative technology that allows surfaces, such as smartphone displays and PC monitors, to act as speakers.

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.

As for what Google could do with Redux, the search giant may build smartphones that eschew speakers.

A filing on 13 December shows Google Ireland, ultimately owned by Alphabet, acquired all shareholdings.

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

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.

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