Google buys a firm that turns screens into speakers

A spokesperson for Google declined to comment on a purchase price, or other the details of the acquisition. So not only can the company's tech turn a flat surface like the screen of a phone into a pair of speakers, but it can also be used to provide focused haptic feedback-for instance, to make certain parts of the screen "feel" different.

Founded in 2013, Redux Labs developed a technology that eliminates the need for small speakers in mobile phones, freeing up space for batteries or other components.

Alphabet Inc is the parent company of Google and owns numerous companies, and continues to acquire even more. The buyout took place quietly in August 2017 and was only confirmed by the transfer of shares from Redux's holding company, NVF Tech Ltd., to Google on December 13th. The sound quality is said to be "decent".

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.

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.

HTC Debuts Shinier, More Expensive VR Headset
The Vive Pro will be backwards compatible with existing Vive applications as well as the company's room-scale trackers. HTC isn't saying when exactly the new Vive will be available for purchase, or how much it will cost as of yet, though.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones both feature dual front-facing speakers, which has been welcomed by many critics and users.

The last public communication from Redux was in April 2017, when it unveiled its Panel Audio technology, which uses haptic vibrations and "bending wave" sounds to turn smartphone and tablet screens into high-quality speakers.

Google quietly purchased a United Kingdom firm called Redux sometime past year.

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.

  • Regina Walsh