Talk To Me
Even the quick demo on the front page of Ivona's site is enough to convince you of the quality of the company's text-to-speech product, if you don't have a Kindle Fire to read to you. And with voice activation, audio messaging, spoken interaction and other uses becoming more popular on smartphones and tablets, it is little surprise that Amazon has acquired Ivona to ensure it can compete and thrive with these features in future.
Supporting 17 languages at the moment, Ivona will also help Amazon sell its products into more markets, as it looks to compete in all corners with the likes of Apple and Samsung. It already supports Brazilian Portuguese and will soon add Russian, leaving only China and India of the BRIC countries to add before it can address a huge portion of the world's population.
The company's BrightVoice technology provides a range of different voices, with a smooth natural speech, rapidly generated and with minimal distortion. Presumably efforts are underway to bolt the service into conversational apps, along with its basic text-to-speech role, to keep up with the likes of Siri.
Talk to Your Apps
While the nature of the deal hasn't been disclosed, the company will still offer its SDK and finished products to enterprises where the company makes the majority of its sales. But, you can still purchase a range of Windows software, or download a free Android app if you want to give your computer or smartphone a new voice.
With Apple's Siri trying to be your personal assistant, Amazon is starting from a less ambitious base with Ivona used largely to read your Amazon Kindle books to you. But, if the company does decide to bring out a smartphone, it will need technology like this to compete in an age where a talking gadget is the thing to be seen with.