You can always expect that Amazon will push out new Kindles and Fires year by year, but the Everything Store has so much more in the works. From travel sites to retail stores, there’s a whole bunch of rumoured stuff Amazon might be getting ready to roll out. Here’s a breakdown.
An ad-supported streaming video service
“Ad-supported and dirt cheap” has always been a cornerstone of Amazon’s Kindle hardware strategy, and rumour has it that same tactic is coming to its Instant Video service. The rumoured Amazon streaming offering would operate completely independently of the $US100-per-yer Amazon Prime, and come in at a price around $US8 a month to undercut competitors like Netflix and Hulu.
A travel site with hotel booking
A report from travel site Skift says that Amazon is working with a number of hotels to launch its own travel site for hotel bookings as early as January of next year. The plan is apparently to start simple: Hotels in the New York, Los Angeles and Seattle areas would list rooms, availability, pricing and photos on Amazon’s new site, and then kick Amazon 15 per cent of every transaction.
And although Amazon Travel would start small, there are apparently plans for growth, including some editorial content about things to do and see on your Amazon holiday, and the potential for getting into flight booking and other travel arrangements.
A retail store in New York City
Rumours that Amazon would eventually open up some sort of physical store somewhere have been floating around for years, but they have really heated up lately. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon would open a retail store in NYC during the 2014 holiday season. The rumoured store would function half as a warehouse — acting as a staging area for same-day deliveries in New York City — and half as a traditional sort of retail store, accepting in-person returns, and peddling Amazon’s growing family of ereaders, tablets, set-top boxes, talking speaker and phone.
Picture: Vornado Realty
Since the initial reports, Amazon has ponied up to lease a 43,664sqm space in Midtown Manhattan for 17 years. Amazon has so far deflected any suggestions that this might be the makings of a physical store, claiming this is just office space, and the retail space on the ground floor will be leased out. But sources are still telling the WSJ that the warehouse-storefront combo plan is still a go.
Alternate delivery services
Amazon’s plan to use drones to deliver packages is anything but a secret. It’s also mostly marketing and damned unfeasible for the moment. But in the meantime, Amazon is rumoured to be exploring other equally-weird but more realistic solutions for faster shipping. One of these includes using taxi services to ferry deliveries to customers in San Francisco and Los Angeles. And that’s on top of persistent rumours that Amazon is also laying the groundwork for a more traditional delivery service that would compete with UPS and FedEx.
All the obvious stuff
Even though there aren’t any specific rumours yet, there’s also a whole bunch of other things that Amazon almost certainly has in the works. Of course Amazon is working on a new line of Kindle ereaders. The Kindle Fire HDX line is about due for a meaningful update. Amazon surely hasn’t given up on the Fire Phone. Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire Stick are still pretty new, but there’s a good chance they have successors already in planning, not to mention that Amazon still owns a game studio that it could still put to a lot more use. And Amazon is clearly ramping up its cloud game if it’s offering unlimited photo storage to all its Prime members. And let’s not forget Amazon Echo.
Amazon’s Prime offerings have been getting better and better and better, but it looks like that’s only part — if a big part — of the once-bookseller’s plans to take over every part of your world. Only time will tell how many of these whisperings come true, but there’s pretty much no question that Amazon has a whole flock of crazy ideas in the works. It’s just a matter of which one shows up first.