, Inc. (AMZN), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc (GOOG) & The User Interface For A New Age

The activity in the voice technologies space continues to heat up, making it loud and clear that voice, particularly natural language speech, is fast becoming an increasingly important user-interface mode., Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)Tech Crunch reported last week that, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) acquired True Knowledge, a British company that developed a personal assistant app for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android called “Evi” using its internally developed natural language search technology plus licensed speech recognition technology from Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN). Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN) is the company involved in helping Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) develop Siri.

Nuance announced last week its collaboration with AutoNavi Holdings Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:AMAP), a provider of digital maps and navigation and location-based solutions, to develop intuitive voice-enabled navigational products for the Chinese market.

Nuance also made news earlier in April when investor-activist Carl Icahn acquired a 9.3% stake in the company.

What’s up? Let’s look at the possibilities and landscape…

Amazon’s got two new gals: Evi and Ivona*

Evi isn’t, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s only new voice gal acquisition. In January,, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced it was acquiring Ivona Software, the Polish text-to-speech company that provides the Voice Guide, Text-to-Speech, and Explore by Touch functions on, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s Kindle Fire tablets. The news got little fanfare, likely because Amazon supply-chain acquisitions are nothing new; perhaps also because “the big Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) drop” was dominating tech stock news.

At that time, it seemed likely the acquisition was more significant than, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) just wanting greater control over products currently used in its Kindle Fire. Now with the Evi news, there’s little doubt., Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s plans could include:

1. Entering the smartphone market, dominated by Android-powered phones and the iPhone, which together have about a 90% share of the U.S. market.

2. Beefing up functions on its Kindle Fire to compete in the more upscale market, dominated by Apple’s iPad. (Amazon’s M.O. is a razor/razor blades strategy, so selling a pricey device, AKA “razor,” isn’t likely.)

3. Beefing up its cloud offerings by making Ivona’s portfolio of voices and languages available to enterprise customers.

This one falls into a couple categories:  It could also offer a speech recognition API for developers to use in their apps for the Kindle Fire and future Amazon devices.