Report: Amazon may be developing a standalone messaging app
- Amazon is likely working on a standalone messaging app called Anytime that would be available across smartphones, smart watches, tables and PCs, according to a report from TechCrunch.
- The TechCrunch report is based on AFTV News which published screenshots of the Anytime name and features that it received from a person who said they were part of a survey Amazon is running to get feedback on the app.
- The app would have standard messaging service features such as chatting with text and video, the ability to send photos with filters and games as well as allowing users to engage with Amazon services such as shopping, ordering music and food and interacting with businesses.
The move follows Amazon's blueprint of getting into sectors far removed from its e-commerce base but that keep its growing customer base tied to its various offerings like Prime Video streaming, its Alexa AI-powered digital assistant and a wide range of online shopping options. In fact, it is possible that Amazon's messaging app would be based on Alexa, thereby capitalizing on the voice-based interface's growing popularity and introducing it to more consumers.
Messaging apps are an increasingly important way that consumers communicate with one another as well as businesses, with a Harvard Business Review article underscoring the important advantage of being able to quickly understand a user's context and the need offered by them.
The idea of Amazon building a messaging app isn’t farfetched, per TechCrunch, considering other recent moves by the company, including its AWS division releasing a communications service called Chime this year that offers messaging features, its Alexa Calling consumer communications service and recent acquisitions of startups Biba, a videoconferencing app, and Do, a meeting productivity service.
If Amazon does come out with a messaging app, it will face significant challenges in the messaging app space, which is crowded with two popular options from Facebook in Messenger and WhatsApp, the global hit Wechat as well as Viber and Kik. Even Snapchat would be considered competition. However, the company's existing customer base could give it a soft landing. But in order to gain significant traction, Amazon will need to innovate the experience.
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