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Amazon is offering free Sidewalk test kits to developers

New Sidewalk-enabled devices will be launched later this year.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen

This Echo Dot 4th Gen works as an Amazon Sidewalk bridge.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Amazon is opening its Amazon Sidewalk network for developer testing. The enormous network, which the company describes as "a secure, long-range, low-power" network connects billions of devices across the US. Now developers can order a complementary test kit to validate current coverage for their projects.

If you've ever used iPhone's Find My network to find an AirTag or lost AirPods, you're likely aware that it's a pretty convenient resource. Though not identical, Amazon Sidewalk is a similar network that uses compatible Echo devices and some Ring Spotlight Cams as bridges. 

Also: 7 ways AirTags can simplify your life

Sidewalk is made up of a combination of small portions of each one of these bridges' internet bandwidth, which combine to create a shared network. As a result, the more people have Sidewalk bridges with the feature enabled in a region, the stronger the network will be. 

Amazon Sidewalk coverage map of the US

Amazon claims the Amazon Sidewalk network covers over 90% of the US population.

Amazon/Screenshot by Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Users looking to start an Amazon Sidewalk project can see an approximation of network coverage in the world through a website from Amazon and, as you can see, it's pretty large and wide-reaching.

When you get a new device compatible with the Amazon Sidewalk network, like a Tile tracker or a Ring Security Camera, you have the option to enable the Sidewalk feature in the settings. When used to find a Tile tracker for your keys, for example, you can ask Alexa where your keys are and the voice assistant can obtain the last known location as reported by a Sidewalk bridge that is near them.

Also: How to find out if an AirTag is tracking you

Opening Amazon Sidewalk to developers will let manufacturers create new low-bandwidth devices that can use the Sidewalk network and, in turn, give customers a broader choice of devices to add to their homes. Amazon announced new Sidewalk-enabled devices will be launched this year, including Netvox, OnAsset, and Primax. 

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