Amazon: IVONA bevy of 'all natural' blabber babes to beat Siri
Look out, Apple - Voice of Kindle now owned by book-slingers
Amazon bought text-to-speech company IVONA systems on Wednesday, the online book-floggers have announced. The acquisition fuelled rumours that Amazon, the quietest member of The Gang of Four , is planning a rival to Apple's talking assistant Siri.
Amazon announced the deal with Ivona Software yesterday on its website , but didn't specify how much it paid for the Polish company.
“IVONA’s exceptional text-to-speech technology leads the industry in natural voice quality, accuracy and ease of use," said Dave Limp, VP of Amazon Kindle.
IVONA provides 'natural-sounding' robot voices
The Amazon Kindle Fire already packs IVONA software, used in the tablet's text-to-speech function. The acquisition could be a good way to bring a valuable partner in-house, and ramp up Amazon's supply of audio-books, or it could indicate bigger ambitions in interactive audio, an area staked out by Apple with its virtual voice-activated assistant Siri.
IVONA , a 12-year-old biz founded by two young Polish scientists from the University of Gdansk, aims to make text-to-speech bots sound natural, "lifelike and expressive".
[I]n spite of the many improvements TTS technology has made over the past few years, Text-to-Speech voices still have an artificial/synthetic sound, as the lack of expressiveness makes them less appealing. This normally makes listening to a text longer than a short sentence read aloud by a TTS voice quite difficult
IVONA says its software boffins have spent years spent studying hidden qualities of the voice - subvocalisation, accentuation, intonation - and cracking out algorithms that could code for the use of various inflections depending on the word's position in a sentence. This has resulted in some very pleasant-sounding robots that can read out any text in a way that sounds mostly natural. We like Brit voice Amy .
BrightVoice technology uses artificial intelligence algorithms, which with computer precision reflects the expression and any individual characteristics of the human voice. As a result, the synthesized speech is virtually indistinguishable from the professional voiceover recording.
IVONA offers 44 voices in 17 languages and has more in development. It even has two Welsh-speaking voices - available in either gender. ®