If you think Amazon’s ready to rest on its laurels with the Echo and Fire TV, think again.
Based on conversations I’ve had with numerous people familiar about what Amazon is planning, the company can be expected to introduce a slew of new products in 2017.
While the details of the products are still not clear, here are a few clues I’ve gathered about what we can expect:
Bold and provocative. Multiple people have told me Amazon is doubling down on their penchant for bold products this year. Amazon both surprised and bewildered many industry watchers with their out-of-the-box approach with the Echo and Dash button, and it’s safe to say we can probably expect more surprises this year. One person told me one or two of their new products are “provocative.” While I am not sure what this could mean, it doesn’t surprise me. After all, this is Bezos and Amazon we’re talking about.
Doing What Hasn’t Worked Before, Only With Over Ten Million Installed Base. One of the people I’ve talked to said Amazon is likely to try things other companies attempted early on in the smart home without success, only “with the resources of a company of more than ten million customers.” My interpretation of this is Amazon’s new products will leverage the Echo installed base that is quickly moving north of 10 million. This also means we can probably expect the Echo to morph into even more of a connected home “hub” with its increasingly robust capabilities powered by a maturing Alexa platform and its growing third party ecosystem.
Leveraging In-Home Consultations. I was the first to write about Amazon’s in-home consultations, and just this past Monday I was visited by an Amazon tech consultant. While I wasn’t able to wrestle anything out of a very on-message consultant who went by the name of Corey, what this visit did show me was how Amazon could easily leverage these visit to get people’s homes to be essentially “run on Amazon” and introduce new product concepts.
What exactly these products will look like is anyone’s guess at this point. While there have been early stories about new products like a “kitchen computer,” there hasn’t been much beyond that. Unlike Apple, which in recent years has become as leaky as the early Trump White House, Amazon has become really good at guarding their secrets ever since early word of the Fire Phone leaked. As one person familiar with the company jokingly told me, “Bezos is investing in rockets to send people who reveal secrets into space.”
Amazon knows the result of such secrecy is surprise and intense coverage, both of which feed into Amazon’s ability to convert to sales when combined with front page promotion on Amazon.com.
And now, with the company’s strong success around Alexa and Echo, their intense hiring for their connected product division and their expanded reach into the home through personalized tech consultations, Amazon is teeing 2017 up to be a year of more surprises.