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Amazon eyes smart home gadgets to help consumers buy more stuff

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OFFLINE   sincity


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Amazon eyes smart home gadgets to help consumers buy more stuff

Although Amazon has thrown its hat into the tablet, set-top box and smartphone arenas, each type of device shares a common goal: Making it easy to buy things from the mothership, an objective which could soon expand across the entire home.

Reuters today reported that Amazon's secretive Lab126 division is apparently hard at work on the next generation of hardware to help shoppers consume more of the e-tailer's goods at the push of a single button.

According to an unnamed source, the estimated $55 million plans involve development of internet-connected "smart home gadgets" capable of notifying consumers when consumables or repairs are needed, and then "order products like detergent by pressing a button."

Exactly how Amazon customers might conduct such purchases remains somewhat murky, but a second unidentified source claims the e-tailer is "interested" in some form of wearable device, as well as sensors which could facilitate such technology.

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Apparently an expansion beyond existing Kindle Fire, Fire TV and Fire Phone hardware, the report claims Amazon intends to beef up engineering staff "by at least 27 percent" at the company's Sunnyvale and Cupertino facilities over the next five years for a total of "at least 3,757 people."

The sources are in agreement that Amazon's ambitious plans may never bear fruit, while company spokeswoman Kinley Pearsall offered little insight as to what Lab126 is up to beyond the current 2014 hardware lineup.

"We will continue to invent and create new features, services and products, and to support this innovation," Pearsall told Reuters in a statement, adding Lab126 was moving "incredibly quickly" while growing at an equally accelerated rate.

Unfortunately, the engineering group's most recent endeavor - the four-year odyssey known as Fire Phone - has thus far failed to live up to hype, with a steep price cut from $199 (about UKú122, AU$224) to less than a dollar with a two-year AT&T contract.

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