As part of what is believed to be an ongoing attempt to develop a smartphone of their own, Amazon are said to have completed the buy-out of voice recognition technology service Evi, according to a report by TechCrunch.
More specifically, the purchase is for the English start-up company behind the Evi service, True Knowledge (who in 2012 officially changed their name to the former), for an estimated total of $26m (£17m). The platform has since its release been renowned for offering the ability to recognise natural speech patterns and a tendency to ‘learn’ based on user habits, alongside a capability of understanding at least ‘billions’ of facts.
While it is not yet officially confirmed by Amazon, the rumours have done enough to suggest that the online retail specialists are planning to add the system to their own-brand ‘Kindle’ range of products (e-readers & tablet computers), and that to challenge the iPhone’s ‘Siri’ voice searching system, they will soon be adding a smartphone, with Evi included, to their product selection.
Such rumours are also fuelled by Amazon’s appointment of a former Windows Phone executive, the appropriately-named Charlie Kindel, for work on a mystery product expected to be a Kindle-branded smartphone, though again details remain unclear.
With Evi currently struggling in its own right, though (as their app for iOS and Android devices was close to being pulled from Apple’s App Store due to too many Siri similarities), will a launch alongside a fully-committed Amazon help them to make a name for themselves away from Siri’s shadow, or will it always be seen as an imitation service no matter what enhancements are made?