The text-to-speech feature of the Kindle 2 in one of the main features that Amazon was touting when they debuted their latest e-book reader. However, Roy Blount, Jr., president of the Author’s Guild, made it immediately known that the Guild objects to the feature that he believes undermines the market for professional e-book. While this is overly cautious, since the Kindle sounds nothing like a real human being, Amazon has decided to step up (or back down?) and allow book publishers and authors the right to allow their works to be compatible with the text-to-speech feature or not. We are hoping that most will see that it’s harmless, and just allows folks to enjoy their work in a different way, albeit on the same device. You can read Amazon’s full statement after the jump.
IBM is working on an advanced computer voice that is almost indistinguishable from a human’s. Referred to as “generating paralinguistic phenomena via markup in text-to-speech syntheses,” the voice is programmed to use verbal tics like, ‘um’ and ‘er.’ It can react to an interruption by saying “shhh” and has an algorithm that can learn expressions at correct sentence points. The company plans on using them in telephone helplines, satellite navigation systems, cameras, etc. So we guess the Authors Guild may have a valid concern about the next generation of Kindle after all.
Read More | Telegraph
Amazon has run some opposition with its Kindle 2‘s text-to-speech function. The Authors Guild claims that Read-to-Me may violate authors’ rights. Executive director Paul Aiken said, “They don’t have the right to read a book out loud. That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.”
The Guild is worried that audio book sales will be compromised by the feature, but we all know that hearing an electronic voice isn’t even close to that of the author or other human reader. We don’t think they really have to worry at this point, do you?
You can pick up a Kindle 2 at Amazon now.
Read More | Real Tech News
TomTom has released its new GPS Go 920T with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, hands-free operation with text-to-speech ability, a built-in FM transmitter and enhanced positioning technology. With integrated Bluetooth remote and a storage capacity of 4GB, the device comes with maps of both Europe and North America. It has a RDS-TMC Traffic Receiver with a free year’s subscription to its traffic warning service. If you want more mapping capacity, there is an SD slot for additional input. Available with a mounting arm, the Go 920T carries a top of the line price of $599.95 after holiday rebate.
Read More | TomTom