Amazon’s Lab126, the secretive R&D group behind the Kindle, is apparently on a hiring spree, as noted by the EETimes, which speculates that the organization may be planning to spin out the lab as a stand-alone company. There are currently about 250 job openings available, with most based in Silicon Valley, but several in Hyderabad, India, one in Shenzhen, China and another in Tokyo.
This is yet another sign that the Seattle-based e-commerce giant is gearing up its mobile device business to lead its global expansion strategy, after years of giving its Kindle products a rather sluggish international rollout. Japan got the Kindle in October, and the device looks set to arrive soon in China. Amazon’s Kindle bookstore also recently opened for business in Brazil, though Kindle devices are not actually being sold directly through Amazon’s Web site for that country.
The number of Lab126 employees has jumped over the past 15 months. In September 2011, Lab126 had just over 500 employees listed on LinkedIn, according to Reuters, but that number has grown to 1,015 as of a search of current Lab126 employees today. Back in September, Lab126 leased 500,000 square feet of office space in Sunnyvale, California, with enough room to hold more than 2,500 workers.
Amazon has also launched a new R&D hub in London that focuses on developing services and APIs for TVs, game consoles, smartphones and PCs for the global market.
As EETimes notes, there are more than a dozen management openings, including several requiring 10 years of experience or more. International positions include a camera test engineer based in Shenzhen, China, who
“will be a key member of the development team and will be the main interface among the internal engineering and operations teams as well as our OEM partners.”
Lab126 is also looking for a data center engineer who will be based in Meguro City, Tokyo. The job description for that particular position says:
“Amazon is expanding the Data Center management team in Asia and specifically in Japan. This position requires broad Data Center knowledge with Subject Matter Expertise (SME) in as many specific fields as possible.”
Another open position is a Silicon Valley-based principal software development engineer for APIs who will be expected to “engage with an experienced cross-disciplinary staff to conceive and design innovative consumer application solutions,” a possible sign that Amazon will continue to make its Appstore more attractive to both developers and consumers.
Other positions listed include accessories engineers for “in-box and out-box accessories,” especially for candidates with experience in “IP creation,” which, as the EETimes notes, is interesting because Amazon produces few Kindle accessories even though that is a high profit margin area. Job openings in this area include an accessory electrical engineer and senior accessory electrical engineer, both based in Cupertino, and required to be “someone who is a “hands-on” electrical accessory engineer with a hardware design background in consumer electronics to develop in-box and out-box accessories.”
In another strong sign that it plans to expand rapidly, Lab126 is even hiring a team of recruiters, including five for its Silicon Valley office (a senior recruiter, two recruiters for digital products, a sourcing recruiter, and a recruiting coordinator), as well as a software development manager in Hyderabad who is also expected to be a “recruiter and people manager.”
A request for comment has been sent to Amazon’s press office and this post will be updated if they respond.