Google quietly purchased a United Kingdom sound tech startup

A 10-inch Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant is shown during Pepcom's Digital Experience in Las Vegas Nevada
A 10-inch Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant is shown during Pepcom's Digital Experience in Las Vegas Nevada
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12 January, 2018

Google acquired a United Kingdom-based startup Redux which specializes in technology that turns various objects with flat surfaces into speakers, as revealed by the British firm's website that went out of commission a year ago.

A United Kingdom regulatory filing from December 2017 showed that Google subsidiary Google Ireland Holdings Unlimited Company, bought all the shares of NVF Tech, the parent company of Redux Laboratories.

The Redux panel speaker uses patented bending-wave technology to produce superb audio directly from a vibrating surface, without the need for a bulky enclosure.

Bloomberg said a Google spokesperson declined to comment, but it's thought Alphabet could use Redux's engineering capacity to improve the quality of sound on its handsets.

More news: Geely buys into Swedish truck maker AB Volvo to reinforce globalisation drive

Redux isn't the only company looking to transform screens into speakers. The actual deal was reportedly made in August 2017.

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. Redux has technology that can turn your phone's display into a speaker and also offer a better haptic feedback experience. With Google's acquisition, that may change soon. For instance, the iPhone X and a couple of other bezel-less smartphones like the Mi Mix have strategically relocated hardware like the mic and the earpiece in order to accommodate the larger display. This technology can free up space in the devices, creating room for batteries or other components.

Alphabet has a range of potential uses for the technology. 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. 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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