Being a maker of products rather than just a store is now old hat for Amazon, and its fingers are in more technological pies than we can count. But it creates a lot of gadgets and services that people love (on top of being the first-stop store for so many of us), and its wild success at releasing great products this year in a swathe of categories earns it our Brand of the Year award at the T3 Awards 2020 (opens in new tab).
Let's talk hardware. The Amazon Echo Buds (opens in new tab) were a low-price true wireless headphones smash hit, bringing Bose's noise-cancelling tech in a superb package. The Amazon Echo Studio (opens in new tab) finally brought hi-res music to Alexa, and in a mind-bending new 3D audio format. The Echo Show 5 (opens in new tab) and Echo Show 8 smart screens are compact information powerhouses, at really good prices. There have been new Kindles, and Kindle Fire HD tablets, and more… as a hardware maker, this may be its strongest year yet.
And that's just the Amazon-branded gadgets – don't forget that Ring introduced new video doorbells (opens in new tab) and new smart cameras (opens in new tab), Blink offered a new ultra-affordable smart cam, and Eero's new mesh router system upgraded smart home security. All three companies are owned by Amazon.
In services, Amazon Music went HD (opens in new tab) with lossless audio, putting in rarified company for audiophiles on that front – and it added support for Sony's new 3D sound format, showcased in the Echo Studio. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video secured Star Trek: Picard in the UK as one of the most talked-about shows of the year, while critically-acclaimed shows such as The Boys and Tales From the Loop are landing with regularity, and the suite of older shows is growing strongly.
Even more exciting was that high-profile sports made their way to the platform, including Premier League games and ATP Tour Tennis. Amazon pulled off a massive Prime Day concert featuring the likes of Taylor Swift. Prime Video is no longer chasing Netflix; it's become a viable equal that sometimes offers more than its rival.
The company also came into its own this year when traditional retail spaces were shuttered. Slightly longer lead times or not, Amazon jumped into action to maintain its inimitable grasp on logistics. It was a place those without easy access to physical stores could get much-needed essentials in tough times, and when everyone suddenly needed working-from-home equipment, it was able to provide.
The last 12 months have thrown out some… challenges, but Amazon managed to provide hit after gadget hit, and was a lifeline for people trapped at home. And that's why it's the winner of our Brand of the Year award.
• See all the T3 Awards 2020 (opens in new tab) winners!