Mapping battle heats up as Amazon acquires UpNext

Just one month after Apple unveiled its plan to dump Google Maps across all its iOS devices in favour of its own, in-house mapping application, Amazon has signalled it could soon enter the market after purchasing a 3D mapping startup called UpNext.

UpNext, a startup that had offers 3D mapping capabilities for the United States through iPhone, iPad and Android applications, was founded in 2007 "by four high school friends who wanted to make better maps."

The purchase of the startup by Amazon - scooped by technology publication GigaOmmarks a new move for Amazon and suggests it could launch its own mapping tool in the not to distant future. 

"As part of the deal, the four-person company will be shipping off to Seattle to lead the company’s core mapping effort, according to a source familiar with the matter," GigaOm wrote of the deal.

As of present, Amazon does not offer any form of mapping tools for its users - and the present model of its hit, low-cost tablet the Kindle Fire has not got any in-built GPS features. However if - and that's, for now, a big if - the company is working on a new mapping platform for its Fire device, future editions of the tablet could offer GPS functionality.

Launching its own maps platform would place Amazon in direct competition with Apple, Google and Microsoft all of whom now offer their own respective map platforms.

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