Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Google secretly acquired a United Kingdom startup that could make smartphone speakers obsolete

Google secretly acquired a United Kingdom startup that could make smartphone speakers obsolete

The acquisition is reflected on Crunchbase, and in confirmed transfer of shares within United Kingdom regulatory filings.

The Cambridge-based startup, named Redux, developed technology that eliminates the need for speakers in mobile phones, thus freeing up space for other components. No financial details of the acquisition are presently known, though the deal may have ended up being worth north of $10 million, with Redux raising half of that sum in capital funding last March alone. The startup is developing technology, and it will be able to turn certain surfaces into speakers. The acquisition could prove useful to Google, and could change the way it designed its future Pixel smartphones.

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Redux isn't the only company looking to transform screens into speakers. On Ivanov's profile page, it says that Redux achieved a "successful exit" in August 2017, but it does not state the buyer. Apple recently adopted an advanced Taptic Engine in its iPhones and other devices that offers enhanced feedback, and Google may be planning to use Redux tech in a similar fashion. For Panel Audio, they are using special actuators that "deliver naturalistic wide-frequency-range audio from a panel or display (without micro-speakers and apertures) - providing a versatile and robust overall solution".

Hopefully, it won't be too long until Google integrates this technology into their system, because we'll be able to have even thinner devices with bigger batteries.

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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. Its main Google division started selling its own smartphones in 2016, so new engineering talent from Redux may help the company develop handsets with better sound.

Google has acquired a United Kingdom startup that can turn mobile device displays into speakers.

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