Amazon might be better known as the largest online retailer in the world, but the company’s slow and steady entry into the smart home market was punctuated today with its purchase of smart camera and doorbell maker Blink.
If you’ve never heard of Blink, that’s understandable — Ring and Nest arguably have more brand recognition, though that does not mean Blink is not a player in the smart home scene. The company got its start through its Kickstarter campaign back in 2014 that raised over $1 million with its eponymous smart home security camera.
For a very small startup, Blink made several lofty promises at the time, such as having its system be completely wireless, affordable, and simple to use. The weird thing is that Blink actually delivered the goods in 2016, and the company has since expanded into smart doorbells.
Blink’s cameras start at $99, with the company’s video doorbell making its debut sometime in 2018 for $99 for existing customers. Apart from being affordable, Blink’s products are also easy to set up — they all operate on batteries that the company says will keep its cameras and doorbell ticking for two years. Blink is also working on a video-centric home security system that will be presumably be available sometime next year.
With the company’s smart home chops made clear, it’s no surprise, then, that the purchase has everything to do with Amazon wanting more relevance in the smart home market. The online retailer has already had a presence in the home with Alexa, as well as its Echo and Fire TV devices, but it expanded its smart home wares with the Cloud Cam and Amazon Key.
Amazon confirmed the purchase with The Verge, saying:
As one of [Blink’s] distributors, we already know customers love their home security cameras and monitoring systems. We’re excited to welcome their team and invent together on behalf of customers.
Blink also confirmed its acquisition, saying that it will remain a separate entity under Amazon, though we are not sure if that will change at some point. Blink also says it will continue to sell and support its products, but again, this could change. For now, folks are likely anticipating what Amazon will do next in the home.