, Inc. (AMZN) Buys a Voice For $26M: Report, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has apparently needed a voice. Late Wednesday, the company opened its wallet and officially bought one.

After the bell Wednesday, it was reported that, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has finalized a sale that was talked about late last year, in which the e-retailer bought voice-recognition application firm Evi for a price tag of $26 million, according to sources., Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)

There has been some talk floating around in the tech blogosphere that, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) was on its way to jumping into the smartphone competition with its own handset, so this purchase might just make a lot of sense if that is the ultimate mission. But even if not, Amazon has made a lot of inroads with digital content sales and sales of Kindle e-readers. While a Siri-like voice assistant – which has done well on iOS and Android, despite threats from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to remove the app for its App Store – might open the door even further for an Amazon smartphone, a possible outlet for this new service just might be available in the hardware that already exists.

Evi could even used to help Kindle owners navigate through their own libraries of books, magazines, movies, TV shows and music, helping the user locate  content based on author, actor, title or some other key word or phrase. (“Evi, I feel like watching a Kevin Bacon movie tonight.” And the Six Degrees game begins.) As Siri has been somewhat beleaguered, Evi could pose a very legitimate threat to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), especially if it remains in the Android and iOS app stores and either gets loaded onto new Kindle devices or becomes available in the Amazon Appstore in the coming weeks.

What are your thoughts? Is $26 million a worthy investment for a voice-assistant app that makes Siri sweat? Do you think this will fuel talk about an, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) smartphone? We’d love your thoughts in the comments section below.

DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.