Amazon acquires text-to-speech software maker Ivona for use in Kindle products

Ivona Software offers a range of text-to-speech software for PCs and mobile devices. The company currently offers 44 different voices in 17 languages, and they pretty much all sound better than the default voice that reads you driving directions or answers your questions on your smartphone.

Amazon has been using Ivona voices to power text-to-speech on the latest Kindle Fire tablets, and now Amazon has announced it’s acquired Ivona. Why license the technology when you can just own it?

Ivona

For the past year or so, I’ve been using Ivona’s app on my Android phone to read audiobooks aloud to me. Ivona has a number of different voices available for Android devices, and for digital voices they do a pretty good job of translating written text into natural-sounding language.

I’m hoping Ivona will continue to offer these voices for use on any Android device — but I wouldn’t be shocked if Amazon decided to make Ivona a Kindle-exclusive feature.

Most of Ivona’s Android apps are listed as beta software anyway — and instead of charging a fee once the beta period ends, it’s possible Amazon could simply stop offering the software at all.

Fortunately there are other text-to-speech apps available for Android, including SVOX.

Anyway, this is all probably pretty good news for Kindle Fire owners, who may eventually have access to even better text-to-speech and accessibility features. It would be nice if Amazon also brought text-to-speech back to its line of E Ink Kindles, but I won’t hold my breath. The Kindle Touch was the last dedicated eReader from Amazon to read books aloud to you — the Kindle Paperwhite lacks that feature.

  • Renee Auclair

    Hopefully, Amazon will let Ivona keep making voices available for Windows PCs. Ivona could then provide credible competition to Nuance. Nuance voices for Windows are awful. I heard Nuance’s voices for automotive use, and they are much better than Nuance’s Windows voices. Ivona could prod Nuance to hurry up and make the better Nuance voices available.

  • renw0rp

    wasn’t it Polish company?

  • LSteven3

    An alternative (probably better) technology is iSpeech.

  • Anon

    Maybe they bought it, so that Microsoft could not.

  • sarin

    Amazon already uses IVONA technology on the Kindle Fire. There is one good text to speech software with Ivona voices : Text Speaker. It also supports native languages eg. French, German, Spanish, Polish, and Romanian.

  • Sharon

    How do I get Ivona to read my kindle books on my Nexus 7?