Calling the Amazon phone: Will you use this Siri-like assistant app?
17th Apr 2013 | 23:23
Does Evi now belong to Amazon?
Amazon has played in the e-reader space for what seems like ages, leaving the smartphone work to others as it carved out its own niche market.
That's not to say an Amazon phone hasn't been rumored, however. In fact, more evidence is amassing that the company wants to get on the same field as the likes of Apple and Samsung, with a new revelation today adding more fuel to the Amazonian phone fire.
According to sources speaking with TechCrunch, the company quietly purchased digital assistant app Evi for $26 million (around UK£17 million, AU$25 million) sometime late last year.
Available on Android and iOS, Evi is a very Siri-like service made by UK-based True Knowledge. She's one smart cookie, with the app's inventor saying Evi can process almost 1 billion facts while tapping into a "huge base of the world's knowledge in a form that she can understand and reason with." She even "learns" as she goes.
So what does Amazon want with Evi?
Though the sale of Evi is unconfirmed by all parties involved, bunches of clues point to the deal being done.
Among those is that at the UK Companies House, which oversees company registrations, all Evi Technologies Ltd directors were reportedly replaced by Amazon's UK legal rep. Mitre Secretaris Ltd is the corporate secretary for Amazon.co.uk and it's now also apparently the Company Secretary for Evi Technologies.
But in terms of what Amazon would want with this voice and text recognizing personal assistant, there are a few options, with most pointing to a mobile device.
One is that the online retailer is looking to boost its Kindle Fire offerings with a Siri-ous companion. In the face of competition from the iPad, iPad mini and Android and Windows 8-based tablets, an intelligent assistant like Evi might give the Kindle an extra edge. If she can give good book recommendations, she's a winner.
Or perhaps Amazon is laying the groundwork for the introduction of its very own phone, one we wouldn't be surprised is based on Android but features its own homegrown features, like Evi.
Maybe Evi will join sister software Ivona, which Amazon picked up in January, to create the uber-assistant?
Nothing is for sure, but the Amazon phone is sounding increasingly like a foregone conclusion.