Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Research | By Francis Brooks

Google quietly purchased a United Kingdom sound tech startup

Google quietly purchased a United Kingdom sound tech startup

Google might also use the acquisition to improve its future handsets' haptic feedback.

Last April, Redux announced it had developed "panel audio technology", to replace smartphone speakers with sound coming directly from the screen.

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.

Redux technology could put more weapons in Google's smartphone arsenal as it continues to compete with Apple and other smartphone makers.

On that subject, the site says that the Redux's products can provide, "Great stereo audio directly from the screen, eliminating the need for micro-speakers and releasing valuable internal space for extending battery or other components", and that it can "focus desired haptic effects at specific touch-points". It also removes the gaps that speakers and buttons create, paving the way for fully waterproof devices, and could even enable the coveted bezel-less screen.

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At the time, it said the sound quality was 'decent'.

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.

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.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones both feature dual front-facing speakers, which has been welcomed by many critics and users.

According to Bloomberg, Redux was purchased via an Ireland-based subsidiary of Google at some point past year. 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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