Amazon has purchased UpNext, a New York startup that provides interactive 3D maps for mobile devices, according to reports.
The reports suggest that the Internet giant agreed to buy UpNext on Monday. As part of the deal, its founders Raj Advani, Vik Advani, Robin Har and Danny Moon will be relocating from New York to Seattle -- where Amazon is based -- to lead and develop Amazon's future mapping plans.
The financial details of the sale have not been disclosed. However, some UpNext investors and backers have said that there will be a five-fold return on their investment, which was agreed almost two years ago.
UpNext has developed interactive and extensively detailed three-dimensional maps of cities and venues. It has launched apps which are available for the iPad, iPhone and Android devices. The service currently hosts maps of overs 50 cities, 23 of which are enhanced in depth. Users can "drop down" into streets through a mobile device and tap objects to bring up more information, directions, or different viewpoints of an area.
Joining competitors Apple and Google, the market for digital mapping services through mobile technology is becoming an arena of intense competition for the Internet giants.
Apple recently took the decision to replace Google Maps with its own branded application, whereas both companies have been using aviation technology to increase their mapping capabilities and efforts.
If UpNext assists Amazon in creating their own brand of mapping technology, then this may be to increase the attractiveness of the Kindle Fire tablet -- which currently does not possess global positioning technology. To access maps on the Kindle Fire, users have to download Android applications or access mapping services through the device's browser. However, analysts have also suggested this may be a subtle step in future plans for smartphone development.