Google recently filed FCC paperwork to test a prototype of a new entertainment device that the company is developing and that will rely on wireless home networks. The testing will take place in Mountain View, California, along with three other cities, according to the filing.
Google's testing will take place in the homes of 252 employees and will take approximately six months in testing.
According to the official FCC filing:
"Google is developing an entertainment device that requires testing outside the laboratory environment." "The device is in the prototyping phase and will be modified prior to final compliance testing."
In their FCC application, Google representatives noted that the at-home beta test was meant to accomplishing the following purpose of operation:
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 maximize product robustness and user experience. Utilizing 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.
At the Google I/O conference last year, the company demonstrated Android@Home hub devices that played music. The company is providing more entertainment content as well. In November, it introduced a music service that lets people buy songs through the Android Market.
The company is weighing a deeper push into consumer electronics as a way to lessen its dependence on search-related advertising for growth. Google expanded into mobile software with its Android operating system, which runs on smartphones and tablets. It also unveiled an initiative in May called "Android@Home" that lets Android applications "discover, connect and communicate" with devices in the home.
Google declined to comment on the wireless tests.