Google wants your phone screen to double as a speaker

Google has bought a company that turns any surface into a speaker

Google did not provide Bloomberg with any details, including purchasing price or other acquisition information. Redux is the developer of an innovative technology that allows surfaces, such as smartphone displays and PC monitors, to act as speakers.

Founded in 2013, Redux Labs developed a technology that eliminates the need for small speakers in mobile phones, freeing up space for batteries or other components.

It is unclear when Alphabet - via an Ireland-based subsidiary of Google - acquired Redux, but the transfer of shares of Redux holding company NVF Tech Ltd.to the US tech giant was confirmed on December 13, according to United Kingdom regulatory filings. It wasn't made clear when Google bought the startup or how much money it spent to buy Redux, but the acquisition happened in August 2017, according to Crunchbase.

At the time, it said the sound quality was 'decent'. Not only does this mean that more advanced haptic feedback is possible, but the displays can also be used as speakers.

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Just over a week before, Redux had raised $5 million, led by Arie Capital, to bring its products to market.

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. Maybe the Pixel 3 will feature a new haptic system.

According to Bloomberg, Redux was purchased via an Ireland-based subsidiary of Google at some point previous year. As per the company's LinkedIn page, Redux has 50 pending patent and has been granted 178 patents. 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".

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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