The Bauminator

Bezos’s '60 Minutes' Surprise

12/01/2013 9:04 PM

Charlie Rose tried to get Jeff Bezos to spill the beans on Amazon’s secret set-top box project, but the CEO wouldn’t accommodate during a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday on CBS.

“Are you working on a set-top that will allow people to watch streaming video and not need to have cable television?” Rose asked.

“I can’t answer that question,” Bezos responded. “I don’t want to talk about the future roadmap of our devices…I’ll just have to ask you to just stay tuned.”

“Soon?” Rose asked, which Bezos met with laughter.

But Bezos did drop the “big surprise” during the segment that was promised by CBS --  that Amazon is working a drone program that aims to deliver small purchases directly to customers within 30 minutes of it being ordered. The range: about 10 miles from one of Amazon’s many distribution centers.

Bezos estimated that these drones – developed under the internal brand of “PrimeAir” – could be used to deliver objects of up to five pounds (well under the weight requirement of a small streaming device, in my estimation, anyway), a weight that covers about 86% of the items that Amazon currently delivers.

“I know this looks like science fiction,” Bezos said. “It’s not.”

But it’s still an R&D project. Bezos’ “optimistic” view is that it’ll take four to five years before Amazon’s drone program can truly get off the ground, noting that the FAA won’t establish rules on the matter until 2015.

In the meantime, you can check out this just-released video from Amazon, which shows how PrimeAir might work:

November