Amazon acquires text-to-speech specialist IVONA Software to enhance Kindle Fire accessibility

Amazon acquires text-to-speech specialist IVONA Software to enhance Kindle Fire accessibility

Already using the company’s technologies to power the Text-to-Speech, Voice Guide and Explore by Touch features on its Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon today announced it has acquired IVONA Software, to being development of its technology in-house and “deliver world-class voice solutions to customers around the world.”

Established in 2001 by Ɓukasz Osowski and MichaƂ Kaszczuk (when it was called IVO Software) in Poland, IVONA has made its name offering text-to-speech products to thousands of developers. For Amazon, it has been instrumental in helping users receive audio prompts on their Kindle Fire tablets.

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Amazon added two of the accessibility features — Voice Guide and Explore by Touch —  from the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ to its standard Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD 7″ devices in December.

“IVONA’s exceptional text-to-speech technology leads the industry in natural voice quality, accuracy and ease of use. IVONA is already instrumental in helping us deliver excellent accessibility features on Kindle Fire, including Text-to-Speech, Voice Guide and Explore by Touch,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “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.”

Currently, IVONA provides voice and language services with 44 voices in 17 languages, although the company says more are in development.

With its IVONA Voices with BrightVoice product, the company uses AI algorithms to detect expressions and characteristics in the human voice, which can then be used to read back words, sentences, paragraphs, speeches and books that it says is “virtually indistinguishable from the professional voiceover recording.”

 

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