Apple, Google, and Microsoft have been duking it out in the mapping game in the past few months. Now, it looks like Amazon is jumping into the mix as well.
Ki Mae Heussner, GigaOM:
It looks like Amazon is building up its presence in the mapping business. The tech giant today closed a deal to acquire 3D mapping startup UpNext[…] UpNext, which had apparently been pursued by other major tech companies, has launched apps for the iPad, iPhone and Android devices. It covers 50 cities nationwide, and, for 23 cities, it offers enhanced details. It’s also partnered with the NFL to develop Super Bowl guides that include 3D maps of the stadium and surrounding area. Through the apps, users can virtually drop down onto city streets and tap their way to more information about buildings and different views of the area. The dynamic maps also provide point to point directions.
This certainly leads us to believe that Amazon intends to continue inching farther and farther into the territory of smartphone and tablet companies. The Kindle Fire runs its own custom UI and custom content store — it has been pretty far away from the Android mainstream from the get go, and it seems it is only going to diverge farther. The problem is that Amazon has yet to wow anyone with their software prowess. They’re going to have to up their game if they want to compete going forward. Now that Google is making a go for the $200 USD price point, the Fire doesn’t have much of an advantage any more.
While Google and Amazon fight it out in the low-end tablet market, it looks like Microsoft is aiming at taking on Apple head-on in the high-end market. This is starting to get exciting.