Sources close to Amazon revealed on Monday that the company was in the process of acquiring 3D mapping startup UpNext. According to GigaOm the UpNext team will move to Seattle where they will join the Amazon mapping team as they move towards a Google and Apple maps competitor.
Some analysts believe the move is an attempt by Amazon to reboot its Amazon Kindle Fire tablet which already relies on information from the UpNext team, others believe the company may push further into the consumer electronics sector with help from the UpNext team, potentially towards an Amazon Kindle smartphone.
UpNext is a four-person shop that provides various mapping applications for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices, the company’s software currently covers 50 cities throughout the United States with “enhanced details” for 23 of those cities.
In 2011 UpNext secured $500,000 in funding from a private group of investors and while the purchase price by Amazon is not yet known however investors are believed to have recuperated up to five times their initial investment.
Before this acquisition the Amazon Kindle Fire was only able to provide maps over a Wi-Fi connect, a problem that could very well be remedied with top-notch mapping software with 3D mapping capabilities.
Both Amazon and UpNext are not yet commenting on the acquisition.
Should Amazon snag a good deal for UpNext they will be purchasing a country that has already managed to attract a lot of attention, including a deal with the NFL to provide 3D stadium maps of the surrounding area for Super Bowl games.
UpNext would also provide Amazon with its own set of point-to-point directions.