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Polish startup IVONA, which provides text-to-speech technology, was just acquired today by Amazon, as was announced today. Founded in 2001 as “Ivo Software” by Lukasz Osowski and Michal Kaszczuk, the company offers individuals and businesses “text-to-speech”, “voice guide”, and “explore-by-touch” services, which are of particular value to the visually-impaired community.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. IVONA currently offers 44 voices in 17 languages, but more are currently under development. According to Dave Limp, Vice President for Amazon Kindle, IVONA already provides software used in the Kindle. From its founding, IVONA has won a number of awards, including most recently the “Results of Text-to-Speech Accuracy Study 2011” top prize for accuracy in text-to-speech software. Well-known competitors include “intelligent personal assistants” like S-Voice from Samsung, Google Now from Google, and Siri from Apple. Further, Android users may be familiar with TalkBack, Google’s text-to-speech service for the visually-impaired.
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