Report: Amazon snubs Google, taps Nokia for Kindle Fire maps
The next edition of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet will introduce mapping services in partnership with Nokia (NYSE:NOK), snubbing rival technology from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), whose Android mobile operating system powers the Kindle Fire platform.
Citing two sources familiar with the situation, Reuters reports Amazon will announce the Nokia agreement on Sept. 6, in conjunction with the launch of at least one new Kindle Fire model. Specifics of the mapping service are unknown, but it could feature street maps, real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn voice navigation. Sources add that Amazon plans to integrate location capabilities relying on either a GPS chip or Wi-Fi triangulation.
A Nokia spokesperson declined to comment; Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.
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. Anticipation for native Kindle Fire mapping services increased last month after GigaOM reported Amazon has acquired 3D mapping startup UpNext; the firm supplies mapping and navigation applications for Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS operating system. It is unclear what role UpNext technologies will play alongside the Nokia services.
Nokia Maps supports turn-by-turn directions spanning 110 countries as well as voice navigation tools and multiple map views such as public transport and live traffic. The Amazon partnership is the latest location services win for Nokia: Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) forthcoming Windows Phone 8 operating system also will install Nokia Maps as its default mapping experience.
The Amazon/Nokia partnership additionally represents another mapping setback for Google. Apple's forthcoming iOS 6 will introduce new mapping features developed in-house, ending the iOS platform's longstanding reliance on Google location data. Google Maps could lose up to a third of its mobile users with the launch of Apple's alternative service, according to research firm Analysys Mason.
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. Earlier this week, Amazon announced the current Kindle Fire model is officially sold out; Asymco analyst Horace Dediu estimates the e-commerce giant has sold close to 5 million units in less than a year.
- read this Reuters article
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