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This could mean another step closer to an Amazon smartphone

Amazon has reportedly acquired a Siri-like app for $26 million, which could possibly hint at the launch of an Amazon-made smartphone in the near future. 

A new report from TechCrunch says that Amazon acquired UK startup True Knowledge, which is responsible for creating Evi -- a Siri-like voice app -- for $26 million. 

True Knowledge licensed Nuance's voice recognition technology and coupled it with its own engine to make Evi. Evi uses natural language text to understand what a user wants and means. It is even capable of learning about a user. 

Evi is an app compatible with any Android or iPhone smartphone. 

This isn't Amazon's first voice recognition purchase this year. In January, the e-tailer bought Polish-based voice technology company Ivona Software, which competes with Nuance in text-to-speech technology. 

What Amazon plans to do with both Evi and Ivona is not clear yet, but some suspect that a Siri-like competitor for an Amazon smartphone is in the works. Amazon has already stepped into the hardware ring with its Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets (as well as its own, custom-made version of the Android operating system for the Fire), so it's very likely that the company could create a Siri competitor for its own handset in the future. 

In December 2012, it was reported that Foxconn had already manufactured a new handset model for Amazon (which is rumored to have a 4-5 inch display). Touch panel makers J Touch Corp. and Young Fast Optoelectronics Co. were rumored to be in on the new smartphone's development as well.

According to a report by CENS.com, Amazon's first smartphone will launch between the second and third quarter of 2013 and the e-tailer may ship as many as five million units for the year.


Source: TechCrunch



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By theapparition on 4/19/2013 9:44:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Can someone help me figure out why they would bother spending so much money to acquire these technologies, when they're using a version of Android anyway, and could just go with Google Now/Voice?

Sure. The Kindle products use a skinned version of Android (which is open source), but do NOT use any of Google apps. That means no Play store, Maps, Gmail, etc......and that includes Google Now/Voice.

So right now, unless Amazon pays Google for their apps, they can't include them. I believe you also can't install them a-la-carte either. Google's licensing requires the entire suite. And Amazon has absolutely no intention of including Google's Play Store.


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