Amazon's forays into the world of Android have so far been intriguing, and for the most part, successful. Their app store and music services are useful, and their Kindle Fire has already gathered a lot of public attention. Now, they have quietly purchased a small voice-to-text company called Yap, and appear to be working on a Siri alternative to run on the Fire.
While Android, the platform that the Kindle Fire is based on, already includes some voice recognition functionality, Amazon did not have their own text to speech program. The recent release of the iPhone 4S with the popular Siri has prompted a new surge in voice recognition technology, with both independent developers and Google themselves working to improve the same features in Android.
As such, it makes sense that Amazon would want a piece of the pie as well. So while there is no evidence they will use this acquisition for getting Siri-like functionality on their devices, common sense certainly seems to suggest that it is likely.
What is a little odd here is that Amazon appears to be working outside Google on this technology. The Kindle Fire runs a highly customized version of Android, but Amazon seems to have neglected the fact that much of the technology they bought overlaps with Android's existing features.
This fits with their strategy of making the Amazon Appstore market replacement and Cloud Player music service, but it makes me wonder. Is Amazon trying to build their own ecosystem, and just using Android for the time being to ease their entrance into the market?
It will be interesting to see if Amazon eventually does their own thing apart from Android, but for now it looks like they will be building their own voice control application for the platform. Do you think this will help Android, or is Amazon slowly moving away from dependence on the OS?[The Atlantic]