A document summarizing recent California tax credits surfaced today, and it shows that Amazon is investing $55 million into A2Z Development Centers in Sunnyvale and Cupertino in exchange for $1.2 million in tax breaks from the state. Since A2Z Development Centers are home to Amazon’s hardware research and development division, internet speculation is running absolutely wild. On top of that, Reuters has two unnamed sources claiming to have inside knowledge of what Amazon is currently developing.
Supposedly, Amazon is prototyping a WiFi-connected button designed to be left about the house. When pressed, this button will signal Amazon’s servers, and order more of any pre-configured item. It’s not nearly as elegant as a smart fridge that automatically orders more cheese when you’re running low, but a solution like this or the Amazon Dash is much more affordable for the average Amazon customer.
Even more intriguing, Amazon is also reportedly hard at work on wearable computers to compete with the likes of Google Glass and the Apple Watch. It’s certainly possible that nothing will come of this research, but don’t be surprised if we see wearable tech coming out of Amazon in the next year or two. Considering the company’s huge focus on hardware recently, it’s clear that Bezos wants to bring Amazon’s offerings in line with that of Google and Apple. He’s not content with dominating retail: he wants to dominate the consumer electronics market as well — and the huge amount of retail that is carried out on consumer electronics.
Of course, not everything Amazon has released has been a success. Sure, the Kindle and Kindle Fire are generally well-liked, but the Fire Phone and FireTV have, at best, received a tepid response. There’s no guarantee that Amazon will be able to compete head-to-head with the Silicon Valley titans that are already toiling away at developing similar devices.
I’m rather content ordering my Amazon goods through my browser, but what do you think? Do you want a 1-Click button in your pantry? Maybe an Amazon smartwatch that lets you order more Cheetos with your voice? Sound off in the comment section with what outlandish and futuristic devices you’d like to see Amazon’s Lab126 develop next. As for me, I’m still hoping for same-day delivery drones.