Google, with no fanfare, acquired a Cambridge, UK-based company called Redux in the recent past. This is one of the more interesting recent purchases. When Google buys Redux they gain technology to turn surfaces into speakers . This could be applied to smartphones, laptops, and computer monitors to eliminate bulky speakers.
Speakers are cumbersome things in electronics. When trying to make things smaller, having to stuff a speaker into it means a lot of lost space. Google are buying into a future without what we traditionally think of as speakers in technology. Modern speakers work on magnets and require space for these to not interact with other components. Additionally, the cone of the speaker and the coil have to have room to move in order to create sound waves.
This may be some of the coolest tech that Google buys. Redux has a way to turn any flat surface into a speaker in a lower profile and with excellent audio fidelity. Let’s face it, smartphone and laptop speakers generally are in odd positions and not generally that great. However, when we are using either we are generally staring at the screen. If that screen were also the speaker then the audio it produces is heading straight for our earholes.
Better Haptic Feedback
When Google buys Redux they also get a new technology for haptic feedback. That’s the vibration you get when you touch a screen, so you know that you’ve successfully activated whatever it is you were trying to activate. A better system for that means less power consumption, perhaps more focuses feedback and maybe different kinds of feedback.
This technology could also simply be licensed out to other manufacturers. That could simply make the Redux acquisition a financial one. Perhaps Google saw that the technology was good and would be of interest to numerous other tech companies and snapped it up before they could.
The company already has 178 patents and there are over 50 more in the pipeline. At the very least, Google could break up the company and the technologies and simply sell it all off. But that’s not generally why Google buys things. When they acquire a tech company they usually have a long term plan and ideas on how they’re going to incorporate it into their existing business model. If you look at the Pixel 2 XL you can see that it has stereo speakers on the front face at top and bottom. That’s a lot of space for speakers in their flagship phone line. Eliminating that space and turning the screen itself into the speaker means a bigger screen is capable in a potentially thinner package. That sounds like the way that smartphones have been moving already.
A future with folding LED screens that can create their own sound seems like a pretty cool place to live, agreed?