Amazon has reportedly acquired Siri rival Evi, suggesting that the Kindle-maker is planning to bring voice control to its devices and hinting that an Amazon smartphone could be in the works too.
TechCrunch cites anonymous sources in its report, which claims that True Knowledge, best known for its voice activated personal assistant app Evi, has been sold to Amazon for $26 million.
While both companies have yet to confirm the acquisition, TechCrunch highlights that there is plenty of evidence that suggests the acquisition has taken place. All of Evi’s directors have been replaced by Amazon UK’s legal representative, and Evi’s new Company Secretary is linked to Amazon too.
Earlier this year, Amazon acquired Ivona, a Polish company that specialises in text-to-speech technology, also hinting that voice control features could be on the cards for Kindle devices.
Industry experts are predicting that, despite the fact that most of us don’t use Siri now, in a few years time, we will all be talking to technology, and we’ll feel puzzled if it doesn’t respond. Those experts include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who expects computers to not only be able to speak, but to also have feelings in 40 years time.
When we spoke to Evi founder William Tunstall-Pedoe in September, he said: “In the future, everything will be controlled by voice. Right now, you see kids trying to swipe picture frames and wondering why it doesn’t move. You’ll be surprised in the future when you talk to your television and it doesn’t do anything.”
Both Evi and Siri, the personal assistant launched by Apple with the iPhone 4S last year, use Nuance’s voice recognition technology. Ivona is seen as a potential alternative to Nuance, so Amazon could be planning to combine Evi and Ivona for use in its future devices.
It was reported that Apple had threatened to remove Evi from the iOS App Store last year, because it was “confusingly similar to an existing Apple product,” namely Siri. However, the app remained in the App Store and is currently available on iPhones, iPads, iPod touches and Android phones.
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