Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. reportedly has acquired Redux ST, a small United Kingdom -based startup that has developed haptics technology that turns smart device screens into sound speakers. According to regulator filings, the shares of Redux' holding company were transferred to Alphabet in early December a year ago.
A spokesperson for Google declined to comment on a purchase price, or other the details of the acquisition. 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.
The US tech giant snapped up Cambridge firm Redux which can turn screens into speakers using haptic feedback. However, both smartphones needed to have some bezels to make that possible.
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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. This technology has interesting ramifications and possible uses in Google's consumer lineup. This also opens up the possibility of placing even more components in future devices, like larger battery.
"When it comes to mobile phones, we are not only saving valuable real estate and creating a waterproof housing, we are eliminating the need for additional speaker holes and most importantly, improving the audio quality", said CEO Nedko Ivanov in an interview with New Electronics. If Google doesn't put Redux's technology in a smartphone, it's certainly possible that the company could put it on one of its very own Smart Displays. Panel Audio could allow Google to cram a lot more hardware into its phones, which could give it more room to boost the on-device artificial intelligence services it has been pushing over the a year ago.