January 25, 2013
Amazon Acquires Text-to-speech Firm Ivona Software
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Ivona's technology is currently used in Amazon´s Kindle Fire for text-to-speech services, voice commands, and the device´s “Explore by Touch” and “Voice Guide” features.
“Explore By Touch” gives users an auditory signal when they swipe their fingers across the Kindle Fire's menu, while “Voice Guide” allows the device to read aloud any action the user performs.
Poland-based Ivona also provides text-to-speech products and services to thousands of developers, businesses and customers around the world, offering voice and language solutions in 44 different voices in 17 languages, with more in development.
“Ivona´s exceptional text-to-speech technology leads the industry in natural voice quality, accuracy and ease of use. IVONA is already instrumental in helping us deliver excellent accessibility features on Kindle Fire, including Text-to-Speech, Voice Guide and Explore by Touch,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle, in a statement.
“The Ivona team shares our passion for innovation and customer obsession, and we look forward to building great products to deliver world-class voice solutions to customers around the world.”
Amazon did not reveal its specific future plans for Ivona, but Lukasz Osowski, Ivona´s CEO and co-founder, said he and his team “are all thrilled that Amazon is supporting our growth so that we can continue to innovate and deliver exceptional voice and language support for our customers.”
Amazon´s acquisition of Ivona is important because it suggests the online retailer is looking to boost the functionality of its devices, perhaps to better compete against tablets from Apple and Samsung, or to move into new markets, such as smartphones.
Shares of Amazon´s stock rose 2 percent on Thursday, closing at $273.62 after hitting a record $276.65 earlier in the day.