ONLINE BOOKSTORE Amazon is expanding further into the mobile device arena with the acquisition of Siri rival Yap, putting it in even more direct competition with Apple.
The voice-activated personal assistant software will most likely go into Amazon's Kindle or Kindle Fire devices, but could also be used in a smartphone if the company decides to go in that direction.
Interestingly, Amazon has been trying to keep quiet about the acquisition. The filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that Yap was acquired by one Yarmuth Dion. Further inspection by the CLT blog showed that Dion's address is, in fact, the address of Amazon's headquarters in Seattle.
Amazon has refused to comment on the news, but Allthingsd reports that it confirmed the acquisition independently. It is not yet clear how much Amazon paid for Yap.
Amazon's upcoming entry into the tablet market with its Kindle Fire device is widely seen as an aggressive expansion of its business, which could pay off considerably, particularly considering the success of the Kindle ebook readers and Amazon's other ventures, such as its high volume online book and music stores.
Apple's latest device, the Iphone 4S, touts the Siri personal assistant as one of its primary selling points, and it's a feature that rival Android devices lack. That situation could be solved with Amazon and Yap, however, considering that the Kindle Fire runs Android. It is likely, however, that Amazon will keep Yap exclusively on its devices, forcing Google and other Android partners to find another Siri clone.
Amazon will launch the Kindle Fire in the US on 15 November. A UK launch date has yet to be announced. µ