Amidst the boom to technology in 2017, Google quietly purchased UK startup Redux who had focused research on surface speakers. The idea of surface speakers does not mean embedded speakers in a screen, but instead means turning the surface of the displays of phones and tablets into speakers. This feature is achieved by using vibrations to produce sound from the device's screen. The technology is still fairly new and while the sound quality is decent there is still room for improvement.
This acquisition by Google is particularly interesting because of the advancements that could be made thanks to the larger resources offered by the tech giant. The use of surface speakers could free up space in devices allowing for more internal hardware. While the idea of sound-emitting screens is incredibly interesting, perhaps the true innovation exists in the ability to implement haptic feedback. Haptic feedback would allow a touch screen to give tactile feedback to the user and could mimic the feel of buttons, sliders and dials. Early tests on Redux haptic feedback were promising and the hope is that this technology will be available soon.