Amazon may be planning to provide its own in-house mapping solution, following a trail recently blazed by Apple. According to GigaOm, the online retailer has snatched UpNext, a four-person, 3D mapping company. Details regarding the deal are being kept quiet for now.

The assumption is that Amazon must be interested in UpNext's map technology, but where would Amazon apply its newly acquired mapping abilities?

The e-tailer's current generation of Kindles do not include GPS functionality, thus providing maps on Amazon-branded hardware doesn't seem particularly useful. However, perhaps this acquisition supports some of those rumors we heard earlier this year about a new Kindle Fire coming in 2012.

Is it possible the next generation of Kindles will come with a GPS sensor baked-in? Certainly, but speculation nonetheless.

Of course, the company may even decide to incorporate mapping software in its various apps, like Kindle for iOS and Android or even rollout its own stand-alone navigation software –  afterall, Amazon already has its hands in just about everything from cloud storage, web shopping, books, instant video, music, apps and more.

Following a handful of acquisitions, rumors surfaced that Apple was ditching the once-free Google Maps for its own mapping solution. As it turns out, iOS 6 confirmed this rumor by promising to bring iPhone and iPad users a freshly designed Map app -- a joint effort between Apple and TomTom.

Currently, UpNext develops an app which provides 3D maps for both iOS and Android devices.