Amazon to Develop More Hardware: Wearables, Household Gadgets

Amazon is planning to expand its hardware operations in some new ways: Internet-connected household products and wearables, according to a report.

Hiring will increase by 27% over the next five years at Lab126, Amazon’s secretive hardware unit in Silicon Valley responsible for the company’s e-readers, Reuters reports. The number of full-time employees is projected to grow from 3,000 to 3,757 people by 2019.

Reuters discovered a vaguely defined, “little-known” government document that details Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ plan to beef up hardware development. The report describes the document as an “agreement reached with California in June that would give Amazon $1.2 million in tax breaks.”

Some of the projects being considered (according to nameless sources) are a Wi-Fi device that “could be placed in the kitchen or a closet, allowing customers to order products like detergent by pressing a button,” as well as wearables.

The news comes on the heels of the much-discussed Apple Watch and the growth of the two key trends: smart home and the Internet of Things.

It’s also move that pits Amazon against the likes of Google, which paid $3 billion for Nest, a smart thermostat company earlier this year.

A recent, notable departure from Amazon’s hardware comfort zone came in the form of the Fire Phone, which fielded a mixed reception and apparently paltry sales. (Amazon slashed the phone’s price to $0.99 with a two-year contract on the eve of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch announcements.)

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to elaborate, saying Amazon doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation.


Source: Mashable