Amazon may have other devices in mind beyond Kindle

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Amazon’s Kindle e-reader likely won’t be the last device to come out of the online retailer, according to sources familiar with its plans who spoke to the New York Times Bits blog.

The sources say that Lab 126, Amazon’s hardware division responsible for building the Kindle, is working on other devices meant for consumers. And just like the Kindle, the devices would be a way for consumers to easily tap into Amazon’s content services — like music and movie rentals and purchases.

One source said that it was the company’s original goal to produce other devices with Lab 126. “Jeff’s original goal for the lab was to build a range of other devices,” they said, referring to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. “There was talk of music players and other electronics.”

At this point, it may be a bit too late for Amazon to jump into the portable music hardware business, but the idea of a phone could be intriguing. The company’s MP3 store is already a big part of Google’s Android offering, so perhaps the idea of an Amazon Android phone isn’t that far off. But with the massive influx of Android handsets these days, an Amazon phone would probably be a wasted effort.

A more likely choice would be an Amazon tablet — an evolutionary step from its experience with the Kindle. Then again, if future Kindles manage to adopt color touchscreens, they might as well be tablets. There’s also a burgeoning market for set-top boxes that can easily bring Amazon’s digital media to televisions. Google already seems to be banking on Amazon to deliver media for its Google TV platform, so perhaps Amazon could produce a Google TV box of its own.

Whatever Amazon ends up doing, we won’t see any new devices for some time. Lab 126 has around 80 job openings listed, and according to the NYT’s sources, the company is having a hard time filling certain postings. Amazon is also keeping an eye out for potential acquisitions — it already purchased the touch-screen startup TouchCo earlier this year.

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