Google bought a United Kingdom startup that turns screens into speakers
Jan 12 2018
According to Bloomberg, the global tech firm quietly acquired the Cambridge-based startup, whose proprietary technology creates surfaces which transform phone displays into speakers. 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.
A spokesperson for Google refused to comment on the price of the acquisition or any further details. Google's decision to buy the company may accelerate that rollout, meaning we could see Redux's haptic sound technology come to a Google device later this year.
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.
When Apple Inc. (AAPL) ditched the standard 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone, and it said the reason was "courage"? that wasn't the reason, the actual reason was simple: in the ongoing fight to make thinner smartphones that pack in more and more tech, space is at a premium.
Redux raised $5m in March 2017 from investors including Arie Capital.
So far, Redux has only been able to use its technologies inside PCs and some auto infotainment systems - but that could be about to change.
According to Bloomberg, Redux was purchased via an Ireland-based subsidiary of Google at some point past year. Rather than including conventional speakers, Sony's A1E projects sound using imperceptible vibrations that ripple through the display. Needless to say, the tech that helps integrate smartphone speakers within the display will be invaluable for Google or any other smartphone manufacturers.
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. If Google doesn't put Redux's technology in a smartphone, it's certainly possible that the company could put it on one of its very own Smart Displays. This could allow for numerous ways to save space within a compact mobile device.