Industry

Google acquires United Kingdom startup with speaker-less audio & sound-based haptics tech

Google acquires United Kingdom startup with speaker-less audio & sound-based haptics tech

Google reportedly went under the radar and acquired a United Kingdom startup that turns screens, such as phone displays, into speakers. The transfer of shares of Redux's holding company NVF Tech was confirmed by United Kingdom regulatory filings on 13 December, but Crunchbase says the deal happened in August.

"Our technology enables smartphone manufacturers to reclaim valuable space within phones, which could be filled by a bigger battery", Redux Chief Executive Nedko Ivanov said at the time.

Bloomberg said a Google spokesperson declined to comment, but it's thought Alphabet could use Redux's engineering capacity to improve the quality of sound on its handsets.

The acquisition of Redux was first reported by. In August, Google acquired the company for an undisclosed amount.

According to its page the company 'developed breakthrough technology which transforms the user experience by bringing surfaces to life with Sound and Touch'.

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. Not only does this mean that more advanced haptic feedback is possible, but the displays can also be used as speakers.

Last year, it received £3.7 million ($5 million) from an array of investors, including Arie Capital.

The company now has 178 granted patents and more than 50 patents pending.

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.

Google has been aggressive this year with its touchscreen products, predominantly the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL.

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.

Last year, on the sly, Google purchased United Kingdom startup Redux.