Those of you who own a Kindle e-book reader or have seen one, probably know that the text-to-speech feature for Kindle books is not particularly fun to use. The software voices sound too monotonous and there is no trace of intonation. Well, that may be about to change, since Amazon.com announced that it has invested into text-to-speech technology.
Apparently, Amazon bought a tech company called IVONA Software. The company is mainly known for its text-to speech and voice recognition software and technology. Amazon.com has already used the IVONA’s services for some of its features on the Kindle Fire tablet like Explore by Touch, text-to-speech and some voice commands.
Why Amazon bought this company is still not quite clear. However, there are several possibilities:
Books that speak – The first is that the company will try to improve the voice services on its current devices and especially on the Kindle readers. Many Kindle owners report that they don’t use the text-to-speech function since they don’t find it pleasant to listen to. Amazon may be trying to improve this option or add some new features to it. IVONA is can do the job, because it has developed nearly 45 different voices in 17 languages.
New functions on Kindle devices – Also, Amazon.com Inc. may be trying to improve the functions of its electronic devices. It may abandon low-cost hardware in order to rival with tech giants like Samsung and Apple.
Amazon smartphone – Another thing that can result from Amazon’s purchase of IVONA is the creation of new devices. We are not talking about e-book readers or tablets. Amazon may actually try to join the smartphone war. IVONA alone is not capable of developing an entire handset that will compete successfully against iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. However, it can build and improve some features like lots of voice features.
In the announcement, Amazon does not mention smartphones. Despite that the company does state that it will use IVONA to create new “great” products. In addition, the tech company may enable Amazon to offer speech recognition options in an API form. This is something that Apple’s Siri still hasn’t done. Also, IVONA may help Amazon enhance cloud and web services.