Google Acquires UK Startup That Turns Objects Into Speakers

Alphabet Inc.’s Google division started selling its own smartphones in 2016 so new engineering talent from Redux may help the company develop handsets with better sound

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. Google's decision to buy the company may accelerate that rollout, meaning we could see Redux's haptic sound technology come to a Google device later this year. In August, Google acquired the company for an undisclosed amount.

In 2006 it acquired video-sharing platform behemoth Youtube for a deal exceeding $1.5 billion (£1.2 billion).

Google has declined to comment on the acquisition, including how much might have been paid for Redux.

The startup held 178 patents, according to the company's LinkedIn page, almost all relating to using the surfaces of smartphones, tablets, and other devices into audio amplifiers.

The Verge tested startup's technology past year on a tablet.

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.

At the time, it said the sound quality was 'decent'. "With 178 granted patents, over 50 pending patent applications, and global engagement with leaders in multiple vertical markets, our vision is to bring the next generation of user experience to every consumer".

Redux raised $5m in March 2017 from investors including Arie Capital. Redux has demoed the tech with a custom-built PC monitor.

Alphabet has a range of potential uses for the technology.

Google has remained quiet on the acquisition of Redux.

Redux specialised in transforming any surface into a speaker and Google purchased the company late previous year.

One of the more recent purchases by Alphabet was obtaining HTC in 2017, for over $1 billion ($750 million).

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.

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