Amazon Buys UpNext, What This Means To You

  • July 26, 2012
  • Tech
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Amazon Buys UpNext, What This Means To You

GigOM reports that giant retailer has purchased UpNext, a 3D mapping company, for an undisclosed sum. The deal highlights tightening competition among tech rivals Amazon, Apple and Google, and follows Apple’s announcement of its new mapping application that will replace Google Maps. Like UpNext, Apple’s mapping service features 3D images of urban locations and detailed turn-by-turn directions. UpNext has mapping applications for the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and the Kindle Fire. Amazon currently has no in-house mapping or GPS service, and the news signals UpNext’s key role in future Kindle Fire versions and possibly a smartphone. Before Amazon’s purchase, the UpNext’s team had been financing on its own until it raised half a million dollars from investments early this year. Now GigOM says that UpNext backers will get a five-fold return on their investment. The UpNext founders will move from their New York base to Seattle’s Amazon office.

The UpNext Company

The story of UpNext began in 2007 when Raj Advani, Vik Advani, Robin Har and Danny Moon decided to make better maps for mobile devices. The company was the brainchild of Raj Advani, an electrical engineer and computer scientist whose mission is to “make maps more awesome.” Vik Advani is the software developer and CTO, Har is the Chief Creative Director and Moon is the CEO. Some members of the team said that living in a big and complex city like New York made them see the need for better maps to explore their surroundings. Others wanted to create immersive maps that reflect the real world. UpNext develops several versions of its mapping application for iOS and Android devices as well as for Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

UpNext Products

The UpNext application features interactive three dimensional maps of 50 cities across the United States, with enhanced details for 23 cities. You can zoom in and out on seamless maps with the touch surface for easy navigation. Tap buildings to see what businesses and venues are inside. Maps also feature local search and discovery that lets you search for dining, shopping, activities and other venues. The Yelp reviews feature makes it easier to choose the perfect restaurant or bar.

UpNext for iPhone

The original UpNext app lets you explore cities with dynamic maps. Choose from 3 modes of navigation: immerse, explore or navigate. Immerse features 3D urban spaces in high detail that you can explore using the touch function. Explore highlights relevant places around you, while Navigate provides point-to-point driving, walking and public transport directions. Cost: Free

UpNext HD Maps Tablet (iPad and Android)

UpNext HD Maps is similar to the iPhone app, but the maps are even more detailed on the bigger tablet screens. The app covers more than 50 U.S. cities, with 23 cities rendered in enhanced 3D (full textures). All maps are interactive and navigated using the touch screen feature. UpNext has partnered with Verizon Wireless to give users fast-loading maps even at high resolutions. Along with local search, discovery and Yelp reviews, the tablet version comes with a deal finder feature for discovering discounts on products and services near you. UpNext HD also features FourSquare integration, so you can check in to places and see where your friends have been lately. Recently loaded maps (cached) can be viewed online without internet. Cost: Free

Super Bowl XLV and XLVI Apps (iOS and Android)

UpNext previously teamed up with the NFL to develop the NFL Super Bowl XLV mobile guide, featuring detailed 3D maps of the Cowboys Stadium and Downtown Dallas. It returned this year as the NFL Super Bowl XLVI app, with 3D maps of Indianapolis, Super Bowl Village  and the Lucas Oil Stadium. Cost: Free

UpNext 3D Cities (iOS)

UpNext 3D Cities is an app that focuses on cities rendered in 3D. Users can tap buildings to see their inner workings, read venue reviews and personalize options. Cost: Free

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