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Amazon gets grip on gadget for movielike smartphone videos

The $80 IndieSolo, which draws inspiration from the way filmmakers work, joins a select set of items on the Amazon Exclusives specialty site.

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The IndieSolo, shown off at this year's CES. CNET

Grip Gear, which created a handheld gadget to steady smartphone videos, officially launched its first product, the IndieSolo, Friday on Amazon Exclusives.

The device from the small Hong Kong startup made a splash at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, with its ability to let users pan, tilt and roll shots using their smartphones while cutting down on shakiness.

Since then, the company has worked on honing its design to ready the IndieSolo's launch into the market. The device became available Friday on Amazon Exclusives, which highlights products from startups sold exclusively on the site. The IndieSolo costs $80 and is eligible for free, two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members.

Co-founders Rhys Bradley, a former Toys "R" Us executive in Asia, and Dean Tzembelicos, a former toy company founder, came up with the idea for the IndieSolo -- Bradley had earlier spent time as a grip for movies and TV commercials, in which he managing cameras on set to produce sweeping shots.

"Utilizing that experience and background, Rhys and I were just sitting around one day shooting the breeze and remarking about how amazing smartphone technology is, especially with the cameras," Tzembelicos said in an interview, "and how we can essentially miniaturize what a grip can do."

Grip Gear is planning to release a handful more products that can complement the IndieSolo or be used independently, with the whole line expected to sell through Amazon.

For Amazon, bringing on Grip Gear is a helpful step in building out its stable of Amazon-only items. The e-commerce giant has been working to differentiate its products from the competition by offering things like Exclusives, which launched in March; Elements, which for now includes Amazon-branded baby wipes; and Basics headphones and electronics cables. On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon may expand the private-label Elements brand to include milk, cereal and baby food.

For now, Amazon Exclusives is an invite-only service that includes just a few dozen products. Amazon spokesman Tom Cook said the company is slowly ramping up the selection on Exclusives to ensure that it's picking the right items.

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