Amazon went on a shopping spree this week, purchasing Yap, a company working on Siri-like voice control services.
The purchase details were not shared, but the intentions are clear, Amazon wants to bring natural language voice control to the Kindle Fire, and perhaps to future Amazon Android phones.
Yap was known for a voicemail to text service, but has also developed the same technology that allows Siri to understand commands spoken in a natural way.
Amazon has yet to confirm the deal, but Electronista reports that the company’s headquarters are owned by Amazon, which is a pretty good indicator.
Siri has gernerated a lot of buzz for the new iPhone 4S, and users are eager to do more with the service. One potential issue is that Siri needs an internet connection to work, which may be why the iPad 2 does not have Siri.
Currently many of Amazon’s Kindles do not have 3G connectivity, especially the Kindle Fire. It’s unclear if the Kindle devices would have the power needed to perform these commands locally, but the hope would be that a limited set of commands could come to the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire without the need for a connection.
If Yap’s new Kindle voice command feature does need a connection, perhaps we will see 3G make an appearance on the larger Kindle Fire rumored for 2012. Siri uses a small amount of data, so it is arguable that Yap would use similar amount.
If Amazon can keep the data usage to a minimum, perhaps we will see a 3G Kindel Fire that includes free 3G access for book downloads and voice control, much like Whispersync on the Kindle 3G is free. As an added bonus, Amazon could sell month to month data plans for the Fire, similar to the way AT&T sell plans for the iPad 2 WiFi + 3G.
Would voice control convince you to pick up the $199 Kindle Fire?
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