Amazon has shocked us a few times with its hardware announcements, not many thought the Kindle would succeed to the extent it changed the entire publishing industry, Dash buttons offered a new, unique way to reorder items on Amazon, and Echo is one of the most popular Internet of Things (IoT) devices on the market at the moment.
The e-commerce giant may be working on another hardware device, if you think Jeff Bezos’ non-answer at Code Conference is a hint.
Bezos was questioned after appearing at the conference by The Verge’s Lauren Goode and asked if a wearable is in the works. He declined to mention anything about product roadmap, but when Recode’s Walt Mossberg pressed him on that, he didn’t say no.
“I would never say that,” he said.
That is not a confirmation in any way. Bezos, as far as we know, has never outright denied working on a product in his 20 years as CEO and Chairman of Amazon. But the idea of an Amazon wearable does fit into the company’s vision of having a way to purchase items at all times.
The Dash buttons and Echo are stationary devices and while you can shout from across the room at Alexa, when you’re out and about you have to contend with Amazon’s mobile app, which isn’t the greatest experience when you want to find the perfect thing quick.
A wearable may be able to provide a quicker way for customers to find things and buy them, or even speak directly to Alexa. Bezos mentioned the growth in machine learning and vision in the past five years, and we assume he wants his company to be at the front of this revolution in AI.
Amazon roadmap to hardware is already drawn
Amazon may do the same thing it has with tablets and smartphones, utilize Google’s Android and heavily reskin it, removing most of the items it doesn’t see as necessary. The wearable would essentially be a portal into the company’s portfolio of services.
It could also be Amazon’s first major step in brick-and-mortar integration with Amazon delivery: see an item you like in store but don’t want to carry shopping back? Tell Alexa and it’ll order the item on Amazon and have it sent to you. That would require Amazon to work with retailers however, something it hasn’t been too interested in doing in the past.
Still, Bezos and Amazon have both not confirmed or even acknowledged the possibility of an Amazon wearable. The failure of the Phone might be enough to discourage any further activity in the consumer space that doesn’t directly tie into the vision of selling more stuff.