With Amazon buying Speech-Recognition Firm Ivona, it seems one can expect more Siri-like operations and powers for its tablets. Ivona is a firm that specializes in text-to-speech technology and is based in Poland. The firm makes technology for verbalizing written text messages.
Amazon has been using Ivona’s technology since 2009 for its Kindle e-readers. So may be next time you swipe you fingers across the Kindle Fire’s menu, you will hear the title of a book read aloud. Kindle Fire models use Voice Guide and Explore by Touch navigation that is meant for vision-impaired customers.
There are also rumors of more of those hands-free features appearing on an Amazon phone, based on the recent purchase of Ivona. Amazon has already announced that it has acquired text-to-speech technology software for Ivona. The deal is enough to kindle rumors that the world’s largest Internet retailer is perhaps looking to develop services similar to Apple’s Siri, that is a voice-based search product.
The spokeswoman of Amazon, however declined to reveal how much was paid for Ivona. Dave Limp, who looks after the Kindle business, commented that Amazon looked forward to delivering great with top-notch voice solutions to clients all over the world. Perhaps Ivona’s text-to-speech technology will be used on Kindle e-books and Kindle Fire HD tablets to read aloud to users.
The purpose is to expand the e-book market of Amazon to higher number of people with disabilities such as the blind. The deal clearly points out that Amazon is looking to up the functionality and features on its devices so as to compete better against higher-spec tablets and iPads in the market. The step also paves way for Amazon to do more in hardware beyond tablets. Amazon would perhaps eventually launch mobile handset/smartphone with the addition of voice services points. Till then, all we can do is watch for the next step from Amazon.