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Google acquires UK-based sound tech startup Redux at an undisclosed amount
12 January 2018, 12:30 | Kristen Gross
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Google declined to comment on the price and details of the deal.
Google has snapped up the tech to make full-screen smartphones without an iPhone X style notch, using the touchscreen itself as a speaker.
Alphabet Inc is the parent company of Google and owns numerous companies, and continues to acquire even more. 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.
At the time, it said the sound quality was 'decent'. It also creates solutions to create so-called haptic feedback, which allows users to carry out different tasks on current smartphones by applying different pressure to the screen.
"Redux has developed breakthrough technology which transforms the user experience by bringing surfaces to life with Sound and Touch", it said in an "about us" section of the company.
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So far, Redux has only been able to integrate its technologies inside PCs and some infotainment systems for vehicles, but none have made its way to commercially available mobile devices yet.
The startup held 178 patents, according to the company's LinkedIn page, almost all relating to using the surfaces of smartphones, tablets, and other devices into audio amplifiers.
If Google decides to use Redux's display-speaker technology on its future Pixel phones, the company could achieve a better bezel-less design without removing front-facing speakers. While the external space a speaker demands is one thing, it also occupies room inside the phone.
Redux specialised in transforming any surface into a speaker and Google purchased the company late a year ago. 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.
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