The rumor that Amazon has purchased the British startup behind Evi, the pseudo-Siri competitor, has again led to speculation about the fabled Amazon smartphone.
TechCrunch first reported the apparent purchase, citing its sources and recent changes reflected in some company records. It goes on to say that "smart observers might speculate that all these moves point towards Amazon developing a mobile handset/smartphone."
The evidence assembled certainly does seem to hint at some kind of relationship between Amazon and Evi Technologies, which makes the Evi app for Android and iOS. However, that apparent fact does little to bolster the case for an Amazon smartphone.
Evi uses Nuance voice recognition and the company's "True Knowledge" search technology to provide voice-enabled search. Unlike Siri, it doesn't interact with most of the other functions of your phone, and in my experience, doesn't really compare to either Siri or Google Now. It's been dormant on my phone for some time now.
You know what voice-enabled search would be great for though? How about everything else that Amazon does? Sure, maybe the online retail giant will make a phone, and maybe it will have an Evi-like function, but in the meantime, what it's really purchased here (allegedly) is a semantic search capability that could be deployed in countless ways across an Amazon universe that's composed of everything from audio books to Web services.
That's not to mention the fact that Siri didn't exactly convert us into a society of automatons constantly conversing with the same digital female voice.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Amazon make a phone. The introduction of the Kindle Fire helped open the tablet market to more viable competition, and the smartphone world is about due for some new blood.
But let's not lose sight of the forest for the trees here at every bit of news or speculation. The fact that I stopped off at the grocery store on my way home today doesn't necessarily mean that I'm planning to go in direct competition with Wolfgang Puck tomorrow.