October 23, 2014

Amazon.com Acquires Text-to-Speech Software Company

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There have been many complaints (and a lawsuit) about the lack of text-to-speech with some Kindle reading devices. Perhaps this acquisition will help change things.

From Laura Hazard Owen at Gigaom:

In a move that could assist vision-impaired users and potentially aid smartphone development, Amazon has acquired text-to-speech and voice recognition company IVONA Software for an undisclosed sum.

Amazon already uses IVONA technology on the Kindle Fire, using the software to, for example, read user actions aloud or help navigate the touchscreen. Amazon might now integrate some of these features into its e-readers. (The Kindle Paperwhite lacks the experimental text-to-speech feature that was available on the older Kindle Touch.)

From Tim Carmody at The Verge:

Good text-to-speech has obvious value to a company making consumer electronics devices, which is why the Amazon partnered with Ivona in the first place on the Kindle Fire. Your devices become usable for the blind and visually impaired. Besides the inherent good in being accessible, it’s also a necessity if you want enterprise and government implementation.

See Also: Official Amazon.com News Release

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.