Amazon looking beyond the Kindle for hardware range?

Rumours are mounting that Amazon may well be looking to expand its hardware offerings beyond its popular ebook reader Kindle range.

The New York Times is reporting that "people with direct knowledge of the company’s plans" have told the publication that Lab 126, the Amazon division that deals with the Kindle's manufacturing, is looking to expand into other areas.

The report suggests that Lab 126 is currently advertising for more than 80 different jobs, including hardware engineer, RF systems engineer and supply chain project program manager. 

Although these job postings may yet prove to be specific for new Kindle versions, the NYT says that there is a "good chance these engineers will be recruited to build other gadgets that Amazon is prototyping in its secret labs".

The move would make sense. After all, why would the world's largest e-retailer limit itself to the hardware that is only relevant to a small portion of the digital content that it sells. 

At present if you download music from Amazon's MP3 store, you no doubt play them back on a third party's MP3 player and customers using Amazon's Video on Demand service need compatible hardware from Panasonic, Roku, Samsung, Sony or Tivo to watch the digital content.

Amazon even offers a games download service, so the thought of a tablet style device that could handle PC-style gaming and feature video playback, or an Amazon set-top box, is definitely a viable option. An Amazon MP3 player with direct access to the Amazon MP3 store seems like a no-brainer as well.

One device you can forget about seeing for the time being at least is an Amazon phone. The NYT report states that the Seattle based firm has decided against taking on Apple and the gang with its own smartphone. For now, at least.