Photo: Flickr/Steve Jurvetson
Google is testing some kind of entertainment device in employees’ homes over the next six months.GigaOm uncovered a Google application to the FCC for authority to test some kind of new “entertainment device” that will connect to the Internet over a home Wi-Fi network, then connect to other consumer electronics devices via Bluetooth.
What could it be?
Our best guess is some kind of connector between Android phones or tablets and a Google TV box. For instance, maybe a handheld Android device would suck video down from the Internet over Wi-Fi, then distribute it to other devices (Google TV, a PC) via Bluetooth.
The 252 devices are in Google employees’ homes in Mountain View, CA (where Google’s headquarters is located), New York, Los Angeles, and Cambridge MA.
The company started testing the devices on Jan. 17, and will continue for about six months, then take what they learned and use it “to modify the design in order to maximise product robustness and user experience.”
Here’s the full info:
Testing throughput and stability of home WiFi networks using an entertainment device. Testing will include functional testing of all subsystems, including WiFi and Bluetooth radio. Users will connect their device to home WiFi networks and use Bluetooth to connect to other home electronics equipment. This line of testing will reveal real world engineering issues and reliability of networks. The device utilizes a standard WiFi/Bluetooth module, and the planned testing is not directed at evaluating the radio frequency characteristics of the module (which are known), but rather at the throughput and stability of the home WiFi networks that will support the device, as well as the basic functionality of the device. From this testing we hope to modify the design in order to maximise product robustness and user experience. utilising the requested number of units will allow testing of real world network performance and its impact on applications running on the device, so that any problems can be discovered and addressed promptly. All devices will be used by and registered to specific individuals (all Google employees), and Google will maintain a record of each device, so that they can be easily recalled at any time during testing and when testing is complete. The devices will be tested at Google facilities and within employees residences in the following areas: Mountain View, CA: 37.421265 N, -122.085314 W; Los Angeles, CA: 33.995388 N, -118.477035 W; Cambridge, MA: 42.362754 N, -71.088023 W; and New York, NY: 40.741872 N, -74.004579 W.