In a move to increase their options and features across their growing tablet lineup, today we’re learning that Amazon has acquired the IVONA Software company. They specialize in text-to-speech and Amazon’s used their services in the past, but many think this will be the first step in a new direction. This could be Amazon getting ready to take on Google Now and Siri.

IVONA is the company behind the Kindle tablet lines current voice features. IVONA supplies the “Explore By Touch” or voice-guided featured that have been popular for many of the companies e-readers and recent tablets. For now the type of service it offers is far from what Google Now is doing, and the same can be said for Siri.

The important thing is how wide of a service the IVONA software can actually provide. They currently offer voice and language portfolios in 44 different voices and 17 languages, with more currently in development. Add that wide array of options to some backend services and integrate it into a new voice feature — and we could have something.

Who knows what Amazon’s actually got planned, or if they even want to take on Google Now and Siri. Their current option is more for the hearing or visually impaired than a full-fledged “feature” but that could soon be changing. We can at least expect more hands-free options and features for current and upcoming Amazon tablets, and hopefully more will come soon. It will be interesting to see what approach the smiley face company takes.

[via SlashGear]