Amazon looks poised for a proper global rollout of its media and entertainment business. The company has announced plans to open an R&D office in London with an emphasis on content and services: “new digital media projects that will benefit Amazon customers all over the world”. A step on from the company’s tendency to keep new services (and, indeed, devices) in its native US for a long time after launch.

The news comes alongside more speculation about Amazon’s device plans. Reuters reports that Amazon is working on five or six new tablets to follow its Kindle Fire, all with a firm focus on selling music, films, TV shows, apps and games. Analysts point to the Kindle Fire as boosting Amazon’s share of digital entertainment markets – including a percentage-point rise to 14.4% of digital music downloads in the US.

Amazon has long been seen by the music industry as one of the few companies with the potential to give Apple a run for its money in digital music, although in the US that has been less about the company’s recommendations engine, and more about loss-leader price cuts for big albums.

But with Apple ramping up iTunes’ global expansion, Google on its own hardware+content push through Android, and streaming services like Spotify and Netflix growing fast, Amazon needs to move quickly to deliver on its potential.

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