Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Tech | By Amelia Peters

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

Alphabet's Google has bought a United Kingdom -based startup that could dramatically change how you listen to music on your smartphones.

Google did not provide Bloomberg with any details, including purchasing price or other acquisition information.

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. The transfer of shares was confirmed on December 13 based on United Kingdom regulatory filings. The Verge had some hands-on time with the company's tech a year ago, trying out a tablet which vibrated its screen to function as a speaker, as well as a number of displays that used haptic feedback to mimic the feel of buttons, sliders, and dials.

Redux tech can turn a device display into a speaker, which would eliminate the need for speakers in small devices like smartphones and open up that space for other features. Being able to do away with, or at least shrink, that physical component could be another significant advantage to smartphones with Redux technology onboard. On Ivanov's profile page, it says that Redux achieved a "successful exit" in August 2017, but it does not state the buyer.

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

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Some of Redux's tech has already appeared in PCs and vehicle infotainment systems.

Google has been aggressive this year with its touchscreen products, predominantly the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. Google has made no mention of the acquisition as of yet.

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.

Google quietly acquired a United Kingdom tech startup without anyone noticing - until now that is.

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