Amazon is boosting its R&D work into digital media, including “interactive digital services” for consoles, smart TV, tablets and other mobile devices, with a new Digital Media Innovation Hub opening in the UK. The new 47,000 sq. ft. center in Central London will pull together software engineers, UI experts and graphic designers, who will likely be responsible for not only bringing Amazon’s site up to date, but for developing the next-gen Kindle Fire tablet interface and software for the much-rumored Kindle smartphone.
Amazon is calling on its staff resources from streaming rental firm LOVFiLM as well as Pushbutton, its 2011 acquisition developing digital media interfaces for new platforms. Pushbutton is already responsible for the LOVEFiLM interfaces on the iPad, PS3 and Xbox 360.
The design and development teams from both companies will be brought together at the new London hub, working on digital media projects for the global market. Amazon says their goals will be “the creation of interactive digital services for TVs, game consoles, smartphones and PCs; the development of the digital media experience on Amazon websites around the world; and the building of services and APIs that power that digital media experience.”
Digital media is the cornerstone of Amazon’s Kindle range, all the devices of which are primarily intended to encourage user to buy or rent more content. The low price of the Kindle Fire, for instance, is a loss-leader of sorts, with Amazon trading the low upfront margin on the hardware itself for the promise of greater media sales along the line.
That same strategy is tipped to be at the heart of Amazon’s upcoming smartphone. The handset would be Android-based but heavily reskinned, ousting Google’s own content stores in favor of Amazon’s own media and app distribution.