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Amazon hopes to send video to cars thanks to 5G

The new head of Amazon's entertainment and devices business is hoping to expand the company's services into a new class of devices: cars.

And to do that, he's planning to leverage speedy, widespread 5G connections.

"We do see interest in the auto segment," Amazon's Daniel Rausch told Protocol. "Screens are coming to autos in greater numbers, and I'm very interested in being where customers want to be entertained, which is frankly just about everywhere, including on the go. It's not just about streaming in the living room. 5G connectivity is going to transform that as well, because you just get a high-quality connection anywhere you go in your car."

Rausch pointed to Amazon's first agreement in the auto space as a potential initial step: The company in March said its Fire TV entertainment platform would be installed into Jeep's 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs.

Rausch took over Amazon's entertainment devices and services business in February. He's currently working to expand Amazon's Fire TV service into a wider range of new devices, including TVs. Automobiles, he said, represent a new class of device that might help expand Amazon's overall video opportunity.

Amazon of course is not the only company hoping to ensnare motorists and passengers with movies and TV shows. AT&T, for example, inked deals with the likes of General Motors and Toyota for its in-vehicle WarnerMedia RIDE service for cars.

To be clear though, delivering video isn't the only use for a 5G (or 4G) connection into a car. For example, Ford announced a new program that will allow it to routinely update the software in its automobiles remotely, allowing the company to fix software bugs, improve motorists' experience and charge for extra services with the click of a button. The updates will travel over AT&T's 4G LTE network.

Further, regulators and auto industry players continue to work on technology that would allow cars and roadside infrastructure like stop signs to communicate with each other, thus potentially avoiding accidents. Those "vehicle to everything" communications are being rolled out in locations across the world, but remain somewhat hung up in the US amid a debate over technologies and spectrum.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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