Rumors Swirl That Amazon May Acquire 3D Mapping Startup

According to well-placed sources in the know, Amazon may soon announce its acquisition of a 3D mapping startup.

Why? Presumably, Amazon wants to take its own stab at a new maps platform for its Kindle Fire tablet. With Apple and Google all about revamping their maps, perhaps Amazon wants a piece of the action itself.

Of course, that’s just speculation. But there’s no doubt about Amazon’s interest in UpNext, the company it may acquire.

UpNext is a thriving young firm that’s already put out apps for iOS, Android, and – not surprisingly – the Kindle Fire.

UpNext is said to take advantage of vector graphic-based images to populate cities with 3-D virtual buildings. Apple and Google’s maps use actual photos, so they aren’t scalable.

Although the vector-based maps are cool and very useful, UpNext – at best – can only support 3D maps for about 50 cities. Of course, that can and will change over time. But vector graphic-based maps for the whole U.S. will take a while.

Nonetheless, Amazon is apparently on the hunt to challenge the likes of Google and Apple in every major major category. Mapping just seems to be next.