amazon annapurna
The Alpine platform-on-a-chip has been designed by Annapurna Labs, a subsidiary of Amazon. LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon is set to enter new territory after it unveiled its own computer chip. Annapurna Labs, a subsidiary of Amazon, Wednesday announced a new platform-on-a-chip that can be used to power a variety of devices in homes and businesses.

It sounds like a bold move for a company known for its discount batteries and cheap paperback books, but in many ways it makes sense. Amazon has slowly moved further into the hardware space on the consumer side with its Kindle and Fire range of devices while in enterprise the company has a strong offering with its Amazon Web Services platform. Amazon acquired Israeli chip designer Annapurna last January, a sign the company planned to move further into the tech sector.

The new chip, known as Alpine, has found favor with device manufacturers. Netgear will use it in one of its network-attached storage (NAS) products and has plans to work with the Amazon subsidiary on future offerings.

"Our recently announced ReadyNAS 214 is based on Annapurna's Alpine quad-core and packs in a rich set of services including Plex media server with live transcoding capabilities, a private cloud for the home, five levels of security and a seamless backup solution for all connected devices," said Richard Jonker, general manager and vice president at Netgear. "Using the Alpine quad core chip, we are able to run all of these services at very high performance."

Another big name with plans to work with Amazon is hardware manufacturer Asus. The company describes Annapurna as having "one of the most advanced and flexible silicon solutions in the marketplace," highlighting the growing need for increased flexibility and computing power as consumers demand more from home Wi-Fi routers.

Beyond collaboration with hardware partners, Annapurna plans to release a hardware development kit so manufacturers can craft their own designs based on the Alpine platform.