Amazon Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire has shown that a budget tablet is what we all want. Now Google wants a slice of the action, too.

Amazon might be looking into developing a rival to the Siri personal assistant for its Kindle Fire tablet, having purchased a speech recognition company.

TechCrunch reports that Amazon has bought Yap, a company whose software performs speech recognition and voice-to-text actions, such as transcribing voicemails, and its customers were told last month that the service would soon be discontinued.

Sound familiar? Well it should, because before it was announced by Apple, Siri was a stand-alone application available for all on the AppStore; Apple bought Siri and removed it from sale, then made sure that it no longer worked on devices it was installed on.

Obviously, Amazon doesn't want an application that can transcribe voicemails specifically, but the underlying technology could presumably be used for more Siri-style commands and functions.

TechCrunch speculates that Yap was doing more development than its one customer-facing app would suggest, and a few million dollars of research and development funds would certainly suggest that more software was in the works.

Although the Kindle Fire doesn't have a microphone - none of the Kindles do - all phones that run the Kindle app do, so an Amazon Zap app could be seen on these other devices soon.

If the second generation Fire - or indeed other Kindles, too - has a microphone and Yap, then we could see a Siri-style shopping assistant, searching for and buying items on Amazon store with voice commands.

Amazon has not yet commented on the acquisition of Yap, but if the reports are true and lead to a Siri rival, we could be seeing the dawn of a new technological battle between Apple, Amazon and Google (with its Talk app) to see who can best implement voice control and personal assistants into our gadgets.