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Is Amazon working on a new messaging app called Anytime?

Is Amazon working on a new messaging app called Anytime?
From TechCrunch - July 14, 2017

Messaging apps today are one of the most popular ways consumers communicate today, not just with each other but, increasingly, with businesses and services. Now there are signs that we could see another big player enter the messaging fray, alongside more established services from Facebook, Snapchat, Wechat and more.

Amazon appears to be sounding out the market on a new service called Anytime, a full-featured, standalone messaging app for smartphones, tablets, PCs and smart watches designed to let people chat with text and video, send each other fun photos with filters, play games and engage with other Amazon services like music and food ordering (and other shopping), and interact with businesses.

The company has been running a survey getting feedback on the new app, according to AFTV News, which has published screenshots detailing the Anytime name and some of the features, provided by a user who claimed to have received the survey.

The description in the survey notes that the app would also allow people to connect to each other without needing to know their phone numbersa common connector among other messaging apps like WhatsApp or Viber. Reach all your friends just using their name. No numbers needed, it notes.

One thing to flag is that one of the surveys pages shared by AFTV also contains a typo in a section describing privacy on the app: Keep chats private and encryt important messages, it reads. This could point to this either not being a real survey from Amazon, or someone in Amazons market research team failing to run a spell check. It wouldnt be Amazons first typo.

We have reached out to Amazon to ask about all of this. The company has acknowledged the question but has not provided a response. In the meantime, weve looked around and cant find any clues on the internet so far that point to the existence of Anytime.

However, the idea of Amazon launching a consumer messaging app is not that far-fetched. There are a number of reasons why:

For starters, Amazon has already been building messaging services, both for enterprises and consumers.

On the enterprise front, the companys AWS division released a communications service called Chimeearlier this year that includes both messaging and videoconferencing features. The app is built in part using technology that Amazon picked up through its acquisition of talent and technology from a few different startups, including videoconferencing appBiba and meeting productivity serviceDo.

Interestingly, as we noted at the time that we uncovered proof of the Biba acquisition, the company could easily use the technology for enterprise services (and it appears that it has), but there was a chance it could also find its way into consumer products as well. This could be one of those products.

Also notable is the fact that Amazon has already started to dip its toes into consumer communications, namely with Alexa Calling.

As we pointed out when the free calling and messaging service was launched in May, we thought it was notable that Amazon was from the start expanding the communications experience outside of the Echo-device ecosystem: people could also use their Alexa appson smartphones and other hardwareto communicate with each other.

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