Amazon plans to set-up its device development centre in Mumbai


Amazon appears to be betting big on India. Besides, ramping up its online retail play, the online retail behemoth is planning to set-up its secretive consumer devices development centre – Lab126 in Mumbai. The San Francisco-based arm is a brain-child behind Amazon’s hardware products – Kindle e-reader, Fire TV stick, fire tablets, wireless speaker Echo.

According to a FactorDaily report, Lab126 has chosen Mumbai over Hyderabad for setting up its first base outside of San Francisco. Amazon’s move to set-up its hardware research arm comes at a time when the company is eyeing to grow its product portfolio of devices in India.

Team at Lab126 will work on Amazon’s product portfolio in India, which currently includes Kindle and Fire TV and Echo. Presently operational in six cities, Lab126 has over 3,000 employees. While the report didn’t specify timeline, it says that Amazon has started hiring people for the centre.

Besides US, India is the next big market for Amazon. The company has earmarked $5 billion for fighting home-grown online retailer Flipkart and others. It also sees decent demand for Kindle and Fire TV stick in India. Kindle introduced in India in 2013 while Fire Stick made debut in April this year.

Amazon is believed to launch its smart and wireless speaker Echo and artificial intelligence powered virtual assistant, Alexa in India this Diwali. Pushing Echo speakers and Alexa without supporting local accents and regional languages won’t work in India.

If Amazon wants to get users for Echo and Alexa, it has to do plug-in local languages deeply. Amazon could leverage Lab126 to bring required local integration in aforementioned products.

Currently, internet in local languages is in nascent stage, however number of people using the internet in their native Indian language has been growing multi-folds. According to the KPMG-Google recent report, 90 percent of new internet users are likely to be Indian language user.

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