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 rumored stuff Bezos & Co. might be getting ready to roll out. Here's a breakdown.
"Ad-supported and dirt cheap" has always been a cornerstone of Amazon's Kindle hardware strategy, and rumor has it that same tactic is coming to its Instant Video service. The rumored Amazon streaming offering would operate completely independently of the $100-per-yer Amazon Prime, and come in at a price around $8 a month to undercut competitors like Netflix and Hulu.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was considering the possibility in March, and now the New York Post cites sources that confirm it's a done deal. It also makes perfect sense, given that Amazon's already applied this model to ebooks with Kindle Unlimited.
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 percent 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 vacation, and the potential for getting into flight booking and other travel arrangements.
Rumors that Amazon would eventually open up some sort of physical store somewhere have been floating around for years, but they've really heated up lately. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon would open a retail store in NYC during the 2014 holiday season. The rumored 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 e-readers, tablets, set-top boxes, talking speaker, and phone.
Image via Vornado Realty
Since the initial reports, Amazon has ponied up to lease a 470,000 square foot 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.
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 rumored 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 rumors that Amazon is also laying the groundwork for a more traditional delivery service that would compete with UPS and FedEx.
Even though there aren't any specific rumors 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 e-readers. 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.