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.
The Verge tested startup's technology past year on a tablet. Being able to do away with, or at least shrink, that physical component could be another significant advantage to smartphones with Redux technology onboard.
Someone had a go on it almost a year ago and it appeared genuine, with the haptic actuators also serving to add depth to the feel of the display. On Ivanov's profile page, it says that Redux achieved a "successful exit" in August 2017, but it does not state the buyer.
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So far, Redux has only been able to use its technologies inside PCs and some vehicle infotainment systems - but that could be about to change. Google has made no mention of the acquisition as of yet.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones both feature dual front-facing speakers, which has been welcomed by many critics and users. For instance, the iPhone X and a couple of other bezel-less smartphones like the Mi Mix have strategically relocated hardware like the mic and the earpiece in order to accommodate the larger display. For Panel Audio, they are using special actuators that "deliver naturalistic wide-frequency-range audio from a panel or display (without micro-speakers and apertures) - providing a versatile and robust overall solution". "When it comes to mobile phones, we are not only saving valuable real estate and creating a waterproof housing, we are eliminating the need for additional speaker holes and most importantly, improving the audio quality".
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.
It remains to be seen what Google's plans are for this technology. This could allow for numerous ways to save space within a compact mobile device.