Amazon wants to make its future devices a lot more friendly to the vision-impaired.
The company announced today that it’s picking up text-to-speech software maker Ivona Software, which already provides the technology for the Kindle Fire’s Voice Guide and Explore-by-Touch functionality. The visually impaired can use these features to navigate their devices by sound and give aural feedback based on what users are doing onscreen (similar, in a way, to Apple’s own Voice Over).
So, what’s the point in acquiring the company? As Amazon says in the statement announcing the acquisition that it’s all about future products (emphasis added).“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.”
One of those products, potentially, is the Kindle smartphone Amazon is rumored to be working on. A heavily integrated voice services suite would be a great asset to the device, especially if Amazon worked with Ivona to develop some Siri-like applications for the company’s software.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but its possible we’ll get a better idea of what Amazon spent when it reports its earnings next week.