Google Acquires UK startup Redux that turns screens into speakers

Alphabet, the umbrella corporation of Google, Inc. etc., has quietly acquired a UK-based startup called Redux, reports Bloomberg.

Redux was founded in 2013 out of Cambridge, and built technology that uses vibrations to turn surfaces of phones or tablets into speakers or provide haptic feedback.

According to filings, Google took control of the startup back in August and then subsequently shut down the company’s website. Previous demonstrations show Redux playing back music via a tablet device, which possesses tiny actuators that vibrate the screen and effectively turn it into a loudspeaker. By eliminating the need for smartphone speakers, Google may be able free up more space for batteries and other important components inside future smartphones.

Although Redux has already integrated similar technology inside PCs and automotive infotainment systems, it has recently focused on bringing the same technology to mobile devices.

Google has been aggressive this year with its touchscreen products, predominantly the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. In fact, analytics firm Localytics reported that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beat out the iPhone X in terms of activations over Christmas.

Redux technology could put more weapons in Google’s smartphone arsenal as it continues to compete with Apple and other smartphone makers. And then there’s the long-term potential. Just recently Wired wrote about how companies might use audio to transfer data, which may be part of Google’s plan for Redux.

Though Redux’s website has been shut down, you can check out a web archive of the site where the company explains its technology and mentions that it has 177 total patents, with 115 of them granted.

Redux is led by its CEO Nedko Ivanov, formerly CEO of BullGuard, John Kavanagh who hails from IBM and CapGemini, David Gammie, who has formerly at Plastic Logic, and Nimrata Boora who came from Deloitte and then HiWave Technology.

We reached out to Google and Redux and will update if/when we hear back.

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