Amazon working on Kindle smartphones, MP4 players

Online giant may expand hardware range to tackle Apple

NY Times Scours Amazon's Lab 126 for future projects

Not many people expected Amazon to be able to march into the hardware market quite as successfully as it has with the Kindle e-book reader. The online store’s first foray into first-party tech has gone down a storm due to its simplicity, strong infrastructure and fresh look at the e-book service.

Off the back of the Kindle’s success, it seems as though Amazon is now in the very early stages of testing and prototyping different classes of Amazon-branded hardware. NY Times’ Nick Bilton has been taken round the company’s secretive Lab 126, and was surprised to discover that workers are busy on movie and music players.

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One (anonymous) member of staff revealed that “Jeff [Bezo]’s original goal for the lab was to build a range of other devices. There was talk of music players and other electronics.” Music players in particular, if backed up by Amazon’s MP3 store, could be a real threat to the iPod – something Amazon would no doubt be happy with, given that Apple has muzzled in on its business with iTunes, the iPad and now iBooks.

While the lab worker in question said that an Amazon smartphone “seemed out of Amazon’s reach,” it was made clear that the company hadn’t ruled the project out entirely. Taking on Apple and Google in this market would be a push for the retailer, but if the Kindle’s shown us anything, it’s that Amazon isn’t short of surprises.

Would you buy Amazon-branded MP3 players or smartphones? Let us know on the T3 Twitter feed.

Link: Via NY Times