Nuance, which powers Apple’s voice personal assistant feature known as Siri on the iPhone 4S, has announced that it is acquiring rival Vlingo to help it bring its natural user interface powered by voice to the market. Vlingo offers a competitive voice app and competing product to Siri on competing phones right now, including BlackBerry and Android, as a free download or as a pre-loaded app on many devices. In addition to Nuance powering Siri, the company’s speech recognition engine is also tapped by Google for voice features on Android.
Nuance hopes that its acquisition of Vlingo will help it place voice into more devices, including tablets, car systems, TVs, GPS navigation devices, and others. In the TV space, it is speculated that Apple will introduce its own HDTV model with voice control. The company says that the market opportunity for voice is valued at $5 billion and that its acquisition of Vlingo will help it accelerate development efforts.
By harnessing the combined expertise in voice, language and multilingual capabilities, Nuance will be able to take advantage of the adoption of intelligent mobile assistants, where consumers, businesses, doctors and patients can engage in more human, natural interactions with devices and systems all over the world.
Earlier this year, Nuance had also acquired Swype.