Amazon is now in the hardware business, and I don't mean another phone or tablet. After acquiring Israeli-based chipmaker Annapurna Labs a year ago, the e-commerce giant is now selling custom ARM chips.
The chips aren't something the average Joe will be able to order for Prime delivery via Amazon's main site. Instead, they'll be offered to OEMs and service providers for use in products like home gateways, network attached storage (NAS) devices, IoT devices and Wi-Fi routers.
Annapurna Labs offers both 32-bit ARMv7 and 64-bit ARMv8 architectures with up to four cores. While not capable of powering the next flagship smartphone or tablet, the chips are more than capable in devices like home gateways, network attached storage (NAS) devices, IoT devices and Wi-Fi routers. In fact, Asus, Netgear, QNAP and Synology have all either announced or released products using Alpine chips.
It's unclear whether Amazon will or is already using Alpine chips in some capacity in its e-book readers, tablets or streaming media boxes.
Annapurna Labs was founded by Avigdor Willenz in 2011. Amazon purchased the chipmaker in January 2015 for an undisclosed sum. Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal at the time that Amazon had discussed paying between $350 million and $375 million for the chipmaker. Willenz also founded chip design firm Galileo Technologies which Marvell scooped up in 2000 for a whopping $2.7 billion.