Amazon to invest $55 mn in new connected home project

Saqib Shah
September 25, 2014

Amazon is keen to continue down its path as a tech manufacturer, despite the troubled release of its Fire phone.

The company is using its retail wisdom to pursue new projects including the launch of connected home devices and possibly even wearables, according to a report by Reuters.

It certainly helps that Amazon now has its own dedicated wearables store on its website and that it sells the likes of Nest from Google, the Samsung-owned SmartThings, and other soon-to-be rival smart-home products. Therefore it can cater its future releases to match consumer demand.

The company is set to pour an additional $55 million into its Silicon Valley hardware lab, Lab126, which was also responsible for the creation of the Amazon Fire phone.

According to Reuters, the team is currently testing a WiFi-enabled device for the home that can be placed in the kitchen and used to order domestic products like detergent with a push of a button. The idea is not  a far cry from the Amazon Fire‘s Firefly service, which allows users to scan the barcodes of a wide variety of products (from books to candy) and order them online.

Additionally, sources have told Reuters that Amazon wants to create a device that will also notify users when an appliance needs maintenance or a replacement part. Again, the focus is mainly on retail, whereas a rival device like Google’s Nest focusses more on reducing energy consumption.

However, with growing investor pressure and the underwhelming reception that the Amazon Fire phone received, these new ideas may end up being ignored in the long run. There has also been no word on what approach Amazon will take to wearables.

Still, with Amazon likely to increase Lab126’s employee count to 3,757 over the next five years it is likely that we will be seeing more tech-focused hardware from the e-retailer in one form or another.

About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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