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Amazon expands one-hour deliveries to Baltimore, Miami

Speedy delivery service is becoming a highly sought niche in the consumer market, with Amazon, Google, Uber and others jumping into the fray.

Amazon plans to keep growing Prime Now this year. Amazon

Amazon is spreading its one-hour delivery service into areas in Baltimore and Miami, expanding from New York City for the first time.

The rapid delivery service, which launched in December in parts of Manhattan, allows customers to order tens of thousands of items as common as batteries, paper towels or toys through Amazon's Prime Now mobile app. Two-hour deliveries are free, while one-hour deliveries -- only available in certain zip codes -- cost $8.

The service comes with Amazon's Prime subscription, which charges $99 a year for free, two-day shipping, among other perks. The one-hour deliveries are now available in all of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.

Prime Now is yet another way that Amazon is trying to make itself even more appealing to customers in comparison to brick-and-mortar stores. Many Amazon items are available at lower prices than at regular retail. But customers who need products right away are more likely to head to a nearby store. Prime Now, along with other Amazon initiatives, attempts to draw in those kinds of customers. Amazon already offers same-day delivery on groceries and dry goods in certain markets.

Still, Amazon isn't the only company seeking to get items to customers' doors as quickly as possible. Google and eBay have been working on their own same-day delivery services, and Walmart and Best Buy have begun offering expedited shipping for online buyers. Car-service Uber is also getting into the mix with a speedy courier service.

Not to be left behind, Amazon said Thursday it will expand Prime Now -- which is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week -- to more markets this year and will bring the service to additional sections of Baltimore and Miami soon.