Amazon has announced that it has purchased a text to speech technology company by the name of Ivona. This software may mark the beginning of Amazons trek into smartphone speech features akin to Apples Siri. This announcement was made on Thursday, January 23.
Amazon declined to say how much they paid for the company, but it is known that Inova was already affiliated with Amazon, as their software is already installed on the Kindle Fire. On the Kindle Fire, Ivona technology provides a service that will read the text of e-books aloud to users. This technology could easily be applicable to reading books to people with disabilities, such as the blind. They could select the book they want to listen to, and have the kindle play the text aloud and read it like a story.
Ivona has already helped provide and develop software and technology for blind people. The Royal National Institute of Blind People has been using their technology for a number of years, and will likely continue to be a customer of their software through the use of Amazon’s Kindles.
Amazon’s shares made a dramatic rise on Thursday as well, as a possible and probable result of the Ivona purchase. The shares went up 2.2% in the afternoon trading and hit a record of $276.65 per share. This means good things for Amazon in the coming quarters, and years, as they keep moving into the market of smartphones and cutting edge technology.
Although Ivona does not offer the same sort of voice options as Apples Siri, it is the opinion of many analysts that Amazon’s move to purchase Ivona shows that they are in motion to move into that avenue of the new and expanding market. Siri “responds” to vocal commands with advice and answers. Amazon and Ivona could do the next step, and create a program that can have a conversation with you. Well all just have to wait and see.