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Amazon's eyeing wearables and automated homes next

One of the nice things about operating the world's biggest online retail store, besides the money, is that you can get a real-time picture of what consumers around the globe want. Amazon's used that insight to launch its own e-readers, tablets and a smartphone in the past, and it's certainly not stopping there. According to Reuters, Jeff Bezos is investing heavily to boost the headcount of its secretive Lab126 division, the designers of Amazon's mobile devices, so that it can begin exploring new trends in smart homes and also wearables.

The team is reportedly already testing a WiFi-enabled device that can be placed in a kitchen or cupboard, allowing customers to order detergent with the push of a button. Sources say Amazon wants to equip homes with sensors that can identify when an appliance needs a service or requires a replacement part. Like how the Fire phone can recognize books and media, the retailer could offer devices that take the friction out of ordering the household items customers want. It would certainly differentiate it from rivals like Google's Nest, which are currently focused on reducing energy consumption and making appliances smarter, but those close to the matter are quick to note that Amazon's ideas might never make the light of day. That said, Bezos and co. are definitely keen to expand Amazon's tech-focused workforce, regardless of what we might see in the near future.