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Alphabet Tapped Technology That Could Lead to Better Smartphones

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Dec. 4 2020, Updated 10:53 a.m. ET

Turning displays into speakers

As Alphabet (GOOGL) gears up to release its 4Q17 results, it has become known that the company has acquired a UK-based (EWU) startup with technology that could dramatically transform the design of smartphones to make them more appealing consumer devices.

According to a Bloomberg report, Google parent Alphabet has quietly acquired UK-based Redux, a startup that developed technology that transforms display surfaces of devices such as smartphones and tablets into speakers.

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Google trails Apple in smartphone market

Google could use Redux’s technology to develop better smartphones to bolster its competition in the global smartphone market where it trails Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF) in terms of device unit sales. Gartner data show that Samsung accounted for 22.3% of smartphones shipped worldwide in 3Q17. Apple accounted for 11.9%. Chinese brands (MCHI) Huawei and Xiaomi joined Samsung and Apple on the list of the top five smartphone vendors in 3Q17. Google, Microsoft (MSFT), and BlackBerry (BB) didn’t make it to the top-five list.

Playing into smartphone buyers’ most important need

With Redux technology, Google could do away with embedded speakers in its smartphones and create room for components that could make its smartphones stand out. For example, the company could use the reclaimed real estate in smartphones to fit the devices with larger batteries that support longer durations of use before recharge. According to an IDC (International Data Corporation) survey, battery life is what most influences consumers’ smartphone purchase decisions.

Building smartphones with longer battery life could help Google increase its hardware sales.

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