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?
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.