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Amazon introduces development test kits for Amazon Sidewalk

Amazon introduces development test kits for Amazon Sidewalk

Amazon has announced that Amazon Sidewalk, a long-range network for connecting devices, is now open for developer testing. The company says free test kits are available for developers to validate Sidewalk coverage.

“We’ve rapidly built out a long-range, low-bandwidth network that now covers more than 90% of the U.S. population, and this is an open invitation for developers to put it to the test,” says Dave Limp, the senior vice president of Amazon Devices & Services. “Sidewalk is designed to provide a secure, low-cost way to invent and connect a whole new range of devices.”

Amazon says Sidewalk provides a secure, persistent connection to the cloud with nationwide coverage. Before beginning product development, developers can use public coverage maps to determine if their devices will connect to a desired area.

In combination with AWS and silicon providers, Amazon says Sidewalk offers developers a range of new tools and resources to quickly build devices and cloud-based applications that connect to the Sidewalk network.

Customers using these applications can add new Sidewalk-enabled devices without installing separate apps or setting up different passwords, the company says.

According to Amazon, available new tools and features for Sidewalk development include SDKs distributed by silicon companies, HDKs offered by Nordic Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, and Texas Instruments, a connectivity module from Quectel, an iOS/Android Mobile SDK from Amazon via GitHub and a Tools App to debug and troubleshoot designs in the field.

Further, Amazon says AWS IoT Core integration with Sidewalk provides developers with easy access to AWS services and resources needed to connect their Sidewalk-enabled devices to the cloud. Developers can register devices for development kits, access software and source code from the AWS Samples GitHub Repository and use the web interface of AWS IoT Core to configure their devices.

“Now, with AWS IoT Core for Amazon Sidewalk, developers can access more than 200 AWS services to build scalable solutions on top of a highly reliable, secure, and free-to-connect wireless network,” says Yasser Alsaied, the vice president of IoT at Amazon Web Services.

Developers can request a test kit and visit the AWS IoT Console to begin building Sidewalk-enabled devices. The “Works with Amazon Sidewalk” qualification program is also available for developers.

Analysis: Building Sidewalk in a down economy

The opening of Sidewalk to developers comes as Amazon and its AWS unit have been hit by several rounds of layoffs starting in November of 2022 and further reductions in January and March that totaled 27,000 employees in 2023 alone.

The Devices and Services division, led by Dave Limp, has been instrumental in Amazon’s push into the smart home market with products like Echo speakers, Fire TV, and Kindle e-readers. Ring products are also a part of the Amazon Devices and Services division. Amazon acquired Ring, a smart home security company known for its video doorbells, cameras, and security systems, in February 2018.

The Sidewalk network is built in part from connectivity provided by Echo and Ring devices. From Amazon’s perspective, it’s a reasonable attempt to leverage the installed base of devices and have other companies underwrite the creation of the next generation of Smart Home and Smart City devices services. It still wins by increasing consumption of AWS services.

For developers, a slowdown in Amazon product development and consumer adoption is something to consider as they look to build their own apps and devices that will rely on a ubiquitous Sidewalk network. Locking in to Sidewalk and the AWS platform may no longer be the safe bet it might have seemed when Amazon launched the project in 2019.

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