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Amazon buys Siri voice rival Yap

Amazon is planning to take on Siri with a rival voice service, having quietly bought Yap.

Amazon is planning to take on Siri with a rival voice service. The bookseller and maker of the Kindle ebook reader has bought voice assistant Yap, potentially helping the Kindle Fire Android tablet challenge the iPhone 4S and iPad.

Siri is the personal assistant in Apple's new iPhone 4S, answering questions you pose by speaking into the phone. Yap, on the other hand, is a service that takes down things you say, converting them to text messages, or sending you your voicemail messages as texts.

Siri has certainly received plenty of attention -- both for its abilities and comic timing -- although it doesn't work to its full potential here in the UK or anywhere outside North America. It seems Amazon wants to add similar voice-y goodness to the Kindle Fire, the Android tablet that launches in the US on 15 November.

Yap closed down the service last month, after being bought by Amazon two months ago. Amazon tried to complete the purchase on the quiet, filing with US business regulator under the name Yarmuth Dion, but with the address of Amazon headquarters in Seattle.

There's no UK release date for the Kindle Fire as yet. Other Android devices have Google voice control built-in, although it's not as sophisticated as Siri. Other voice apps are also available; click here to see an Apprentice-style boardroom battle between Siri and Vlingo.

If you want to try Siri but don't want to fork out for the 4S, here's how to get Siri-like voice control on the iPhone 4 for free.

Does the Kindle Fire fan your flames? Is voice control the future for phones and tablets? Voice your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.