Soon you'll be able to buy Amazon own-branded basic electronics accessories, as well as the usual big-name electronics that you'll plug Amazon's gizmos into. It's a little surprising, but could well be seen as a sign for bigger Amazon ambitions.
It's called the Amazon Basics line of products, and it went live on Saturday with accessories like RJ45 network and HDMI cables, and blank DVDs. Amazon's pushing it with the tagline "high-quality electronics that deliver the best price on reliable, state-of-the-art electronics by working directly with factories." Amazon's delivering on its price promise pretty well: a 100-pack of DVD-Rs costs a reasonable $18.39, for example.
Amazon's betraying its business reasoning in that tag-line though—this move is all about profits. By eliminating the middle man, Amazon can deliver low-cost products to the consumer and simultaneously make a bigger margin. That doesn't detract from the benefits to the end-user, as Amazon's VP of consumer electronics, Paul Ryder, notes: "We saw an opportunity to create a line of consumer electronics basics that combine quality and low prices for an overall focus on value." There's even a pleasant surprise in terms of packaging: The basics line incorporates Amazon's "Frustration-Free" philosophy, so you'll not have to struggle with bullet-proof plastic wrapping on an Amazon DVD.
The company's actually taking an active role in the Basics line, rather than merely stamping its logo on some generic products—it's sourcing and designing aspects of them all by itself. Combined with the fact that the Amazon Kindle line of e-readers is leading the charge in the e-book revolution, this leads us to a future-facing question: Is Amazon planning much bigger things for its own-brand devices? Not immediately, according to Amazon...but it's pretty certain we'll see Amazon TV's and other bigger consumer electronics items at some point. The reasoning is pretty clear—Amazon's gaining valuable expertise in the consumer products manufacturing game thanks to the Kindle, and it's in a perfect position to leverage its in-depth knowledge of consumer habits thanks to data accumulated from its store.
Having said that...here's another couple of questions: Will Amazon's own-branded stuff be perceived as a line-up of solid-performing low-cost products, or as cheap, nasty, and disposable? And, in the fullness of time, would you trust Amazon enough to buy an Amazon HDTV?