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.
Google has yet to comment on a purchase price, or any other aspect of the acquisition. The acquisition could prove useful to Google, and could change the way it designed its future Pixel smartphones.
Redux was founded in 2013 and is focused on turning mobile screens into speakers using vibration.
Redux shares were transferred to Google on December 13, according to United Kingdom regulatory filings, though Crunchbase said the deal took place back in August.
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Redux raised $5m in March 2017 from investors including Arie Capital. Redux claims that Tactile Feedback is "energy-efficient and scalable".
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. Just recently Wired wrote about how companies might use audio to transfer data, which may be part of Google's plan for Redux. If replaced, that could leave more space for a larger battery or other components: even, perhaps, the return of the 3.5mm headphone jack, were Google so inclined.
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. If Google doesn't put Redux's technology in a smartphone, it's certainly possible that the company could put it on one of its very own Smart Displays.