The Year Ahead: 2019

The Year Ahead: 2019

This is my annual post where I look ahead to the next year. I’ll make some predictions, but I’ll warn you ahead of time…I don’t always get things right. ;)

Taking a look at last year’s post, I did well:

The Year Ahead: 2018

Amazon VAM (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality…XR)

Hit. Part of what I said was “It might be through an experience (which is what apps for VAM are called), or it might be through some sort of VAM browser system that lets us watch it like we would on a computer.” We got the latter, as I reported in this post on July 29th:

Round up #177: Project Vesta, Amazon financials

We can now watch Prime Video in VR “like we would on a computer”.

Amazon opens a localized site for the Middle East

Hit. I mentioned the Arabic language as being important, and Amazon announced a big Arabic initiative on June 25th: press release . While they didn’t actually open an Amazon-branded site for the Middle East for Kindle they made them officially available through, as reported in this Tech Radar post by Abbas Ali | press release on Arabic language. That puts Kindles into the United Arab Emirates

Amazon curtails personal documents for Kindle

Miss (yay!). I don’t think I’ve seen anything significant on this.

Still, two out of three ain’t bad. 😉

Those were my major announcements: now, let’s take a look at my speculations (which I don’t count in my lookback, since those feel much more uncertain…but they often still come out okay).

  • “Amazon announces several frontrunners for its new headquarters (HQ2). They include deep South and East Coast cities, and at least one in Canada. We may not know officially by the end of 2018 which one will “win”…my guess is that it will be an East Coast city, like Boston…” | I’d say I was reasonably close on that…they picked New York and northern Virginia
  • “More deals are announced for Alexa in cars” Hit, including Echo Auto (at AmazonSmile*)
  • “Alexa experience creators are given new ways to monetize…and advertising is even a possibility”. Hit. CNBC story by Lauren Hirsch and Michelle Castillo
  • “Jeff Bezos may start focusing on something other than Amazon. I don’t see that as a retirement, certainly, but maybe a big charity initiative and a reduction of time on “day to day” Amazon duties. Speculation begins on someone stepping more into the general CEO role…and diversity is a positive part of the story” | I think this is a miss
  • “Amazon might buy a pharmacy chain…” | Hit. They bought PillPack, which is close enough press release 
  • “Amazon does something notable in Africa” | Hit. They opened AWS Data Centers press release
  • “As to Kindles…I proposed that the cycle might be one evolutionary year (2017 was that) alternating with a revolutionary one, which would mean we’d get a new model in 2018. I’m not sure about that, though. Won’t surprise me if at least one of the models is retired in 2018…I could most likely see that being the Voyage, but I don’t think the Oasis has been a sales hit.” | I’m taking this as a hit, but I’d listen to arguments. The newest Paperwhite is a new model, with waterproofing…although it doesn’t have a new name. The Voyage is essentially retired, not being offered new from Amazon
  • “How about…Amazon entering the education game? By that I mean that they offer classes you can take through them. Not to replace a college, but on specific topics…maybe publishing, maybe programming for Alexa, perhaps some other not-specifically Amazon related things (like English as a Second Language)” | Hit, although I’m not positive they didn’t have this before Amazon Courses
  • “For Kindle capabilities: I imagine the translation features getting a big enhancement. I think globalization is a focus for Amazon (as it may increasingly be for some other companies)” | Miss, although they did do a big thing with translating books into English for World Book Day press release
  • “I also have a vague sense of Amazon doing something in transportation, something that makes the news. Autonomous delivery vehicles could certainly be one, as could much more delivery for other companies. I don’t know if ride-sharing is a space I’d enter, but they possibly could” | They bought a bunch of delivery airplanes, but I’ll call that a miss.

Overall, that was a great year!

Okay, let’s mess up my average with some new predictions. 😉 I’ll do three major ones, and ten speculations as I did last year:

Alexa gets the ability to send books to your devices

Alexa can play music and show us videos…why not books? My guess is that this might come in the form of a Goodreads (which Amazon owns) Alexa skill, although you wouldn’t have to enable it. You could say things like, “Alexa, buy the latest Stephen King book and send it to Bufo’s Kindle”. It would confirm what it was and that you wanted it. It could make recommendations, based on what’s happening with your Goodreads page (or more generically if you didn’t have one). It could tie into AmazonCharts: “Alexa, what books are hot?” There are a lot of possibilities here…you might hear Stephen King’s voice recommending something, for example. It could certainly help with management of your Kindle library…”Your Content and Devices” has never been that friendly an interface. The key point on this one: that Alexa can send e-books to your device

Amazon opens more brick-and-mortars, including an Amazon Go cashierless store for the public near the HQs

Amazon now has a number of brick-and-mortar operations, including the 4-Star stores (My trip to an Amazon 4-Star Store), AmazonBooks (The new Amazon Books opened in Walnut Creek California today…and I was there!), and Amazon Experience Centers. I think, in a sense like EPCOT was originally intended to be, Amazon may open centers near their headquarters (Seattle, New York City, Northern Virginia). You could experience the future of Amazon products there, and test new things…like an Amazon Go store. Tourists could go there. It would be a great Public Relations move for those new HQs (which will need to work hard on good PR). If there is a Go store open to the public near an HQ, I’ll count this as a hit next year

While not calling it HQ3, Amazon announces more localized complexes

There are Amazon presences in a lot of states, especially Fulfillment Centers, but I think they’ll do more with offices…or at least, we’ll become aware of more. This could also be outside the USA. I expect to see an article where someone points out how this is like the HQ search

Okay, speculations!

  • Amazon reveals Alexa’s ability to speak more languages in the USA. This is tied into the program they’ve been doing where you can speak to Alexa in a foreign language. We probably get the option to choose another language, like Spanish, but they mention that it has some capabilities in a language which is not a top-ten language in terms of the number of speakers in the world
  • Amazon does something with Max Headroom, tying into 1980s nostalgia 😉
  • The Justice Department officially investigates Amazon as a monopoly or at least for unfair trade practices
  • Amazon invests in some kind of book preservation organization…they work with them to make public domain books available to the public for free (through the Kindle store, but available elsewhere). They may also be helping with preserving non-public-domain books with authorization
  • There are some Alexa-enabled wearables now, but something bigger happens with that…an Alexa watch or something like that. For this to be a hit, it needs to be mentioned in an Amazon press release
  • There are over 10,000 Alexa-enabled devices by year’s end
  • Amazon starts or partners with an existing Microsoft Teams/Slack type service. It’s designed for business, and ties into screened Amazon devices (tablets, Echo Shows). It’s designed so you can do instant video calls with coworkers, and might have text chat as well
  • Amazon starts a podcasting platform
  • Amazon does some sort of easy video publishing platform…probably through Echos and/tablets. “Alexa, make a video”. That lets you then publish that video for other people…maybe just friends and family, but also for the public. There may be some way to monetize it, but that might not happen the first year
  • I’m not confident in this one, but an Amazon-branded robot may still happen in 2019 😉
  • Bonus: we’ll get a major story about Amazon’s healthcare initiative, but that seems inevitable, so I won’t count it as a speculation…

What do you think? Any predictions and/or speculations for Amazon in 2019? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Some of you are already into 2019, so…Happy New Year!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog


2 Responses to “The Year Ahead: 2019”

  1. Joan Huston Says:

    I really want to see an Oasis like the 7” but small like the first Oasis!

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    No speculation, just a New Year’s wish for a happy, healthy 2019 for you and the ILMK community. I hope your hip replacement goes well and your recovery as as quick and painless as possible and that you enjoy increased mobility.

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