Amazon takes Maps API out of beta, cautiously steps out of Google's shadow

If Amazon has its way, Google Maps on your Kindle Fire won't be the default option for much longer. Back in September, the online retail giant introduced a beta version of its Amazon Maps API to see if it could go the Apple route by fleshing out its own maps platform. Now it's ready to take the API out of beta after several months of testing and a lot of developer interest -- Hipmunk, Evernote, Trulia and Zillow have already integrated it into their Kindle Fire apps. The API currently features interactive maps and customized overlays, and is now a part of the Amazon Mobile App SDK. It's early days yet for the mapping service and we're sure it doesn't have the bells and whistles of the one from Mountain View, but this does mean a further step toward differentiation from the Big Goog. Let's just hope this turns out better than iOS6 Maps and no one comes to regret it.