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Google has quietly acquired a UK based startup named Redux, which focuses on developing technology that that turns surfaces like phone screens into speakers. So the technology negates the need for speakers and buttons in smartphones. It is unclear when exactly the purchase was made, or how much the search engine giant spent to buy the British startup. According to Crunchbase, the acquisition took place in August last year. As of now, Google has not released any official statement on this regard. However, regulatory filings confirmed the deal, reports Bloomberg. So far, Redux has developed many technologies involving sound and touch in mobile devices.
The startup, however, is yet to incorporate the technologies into any major consumer products. In April last year, Redux announced the launch of its "Panel Audio" technology that creates louder, better quality stereo sound directly from the screen. Thus replacing the need for microphones present in current smartphones. It also developed haptics effects to give users the feeling of buttons under their touchscreens.
The acquisition suggests that Google may want to include the technology to its future products. If the screens can be turned into speakers, this would free up space inside smartphones for other components such as larger batteries. Displays with haptic feedback, on the other hand, could prove to be a unique selling point for the company's devices. For instance, Apple iPhones come with the pressure sensitive "3D touch" displays.
So does it mean that future Pixel phones will be equipped with these two technologies? Well, there are chances of that happening. If the displays start functioning as speakers, then the Pixel phones would sport a sleeker body. They could also pack larger batteries since the place for embedding the speakers is not needed. The technology also removes the gaps that speakers and buttons create, allowing the phones to be fully waterproof and bezel-less.
Having said all that, these speculations do not carry much weight unless we get a confirmation from Google itself. On a side note, Google's main rival Apple also acquired a Canadian software development service named Buddybuild earlier this month. As part of the acquisition, Buddybuild will be integrated into Xcode, which is Apple's suite of development tools for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS.