Google bought a United Kingdom startup that turns screens into speakers

Posted January 12, 2018

Google acquired a United Kingdom-based startup Redux which specializes in technology that turns various objects with flat surfaces into speakers, as revealed by the British firm's website that went out of commission previous year. The transfer of shares between NVF Tech Limited, the holders of Redux and Google was confirmed on the 13th of December, last year. As expected the Redux website is now down and Google is expected to officially announce the acquisition.

Redux's said in 2017 that its patented bending wave techniques could allow it to turn a smartphone screen into a high-quality speaker.

Chief executive Nedko Ivanov, who left in August according to his LinkedIn profile, said in 2016 that the company hoped to break even by 2018. Apple recently adopted an advanced Taptic Engine in its iPhones and other devices that offers enhanced feedback, and Google may be planning to use Redux tech in a similar fashion. Google has made no mention of the acquisition as of yet. The reason was simple: in the ongoing fight to make thinner smartphones that pack in more and more tech, space is at a premium. For Panel Audio, they are using special actuators that "deliver naturalistic wide-frequency-range audio from a panel or display (without micro-speakers and apertures) - providing a versatile and robust overall solution". This technology can free up space in the devices, creating room for batteries or other components. It could also improve waterproofing for future phones since it eliminates the need for speaker holes.

In the past, the company has demoed its technology on smartphone and tablet displays, and that very well may be Google's core intended use for this exciting technology.

At CES 2018, Google mainly focused on promoting its smart speakers and its new line of Smart Display devices, its direct competitor to the Amazon Echo Show.