Report: Amazon acquires 3D mobile mapping firm UpNext

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Amazon has acquired 3D mapping startup UpNext, fueling speculation the digital retailer plans to introduce native location-based services on its Kindle Fire tablet.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, GigaOM reports Amazon closed the UpNext deal earlier this week. Financial terms are unknown, but insiders said investors including Lowercase Capital, Bullet Time Ventures and Box Group will earn a 5x return on the $500,000 they pumped into UpNext in March 2011. Neither Amazon nor UpNext replied to requests for comment.

UpNext powers interactive, three-dimensional maps spanning cities and venues across the U.S. In addition to mapping and navigation applications for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, UpNext has collaborated with the National Football League on apps designed to help guide fans through Super Bowl host stadiums and surrounding areas.

UpNext for the Kindle Fire

UpNext represents Amazon's first acquisition in the mobile maps segment. At present, Kindle Fire owners wishing to obtain location data must download third-party applications from the Amazon Appstore for Android or access online mapping services via the tablet browser.

Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire in November 2011. The seven-inch tablet--priced at $199, compared to $499 for Apple's cheapest iPad--gives consumers a single, portable point of access to digital media initiatives including the Kindle e-book catalog, Amazon Instant Video and Amazon MP3, with all content backed up in the cloud. Multiple reports suggest Amazon will introduce a revamped Kindle Fire product as soon as next month.

For more:
- read this GigaOM article

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