Amazon privately tests wireless network in CaliforniaBy Shawn Knight
Amazon has tested a wireless network in Cupertino, California, that could allow customers to wirelessly connect to the Internet in a manner that isn't unlike those offered by traditional wireless providers. The trial run was conducted with the help of satellite communications company Globalstar Inc. according to people familiar with the matter as reported by Bloomberg.
It's unclear if the tests are still being conducted but we do know they took place near Amazon's Lab126 research facility where the company designs and engineers Kindle devices.
The experiment highlights Amazon's desire to expand beyond a simple web destination and hardware maker into an all-around service provider. Such a service would mean Amazon could control how consumers get online in addition to what devices they use and what they do on the web.
Globalstar is in the process of seeking regulatory approval to convert roughly 80 percent of its spectrum to terrestrial use. A decision one way or the other is expected in the coming months and if granted approval, the company could lease its spectrum to wireless carriers, cable companies or perhaps exclusively to Amazon.
News of the trial run reignited rumors that Amazon is building a smartphone, a nagging bit of Intel that we've been hearing for years. Thus far, nothing has publically come to fruition but it's anyone's guess as to what takes place behind closed doors.
Of course, it's just as plausible that Amazon chose this location due to its proximity to Lab126. Amazon's Kindle line of tablets feature wireless connectivity so it at least makes sense that they would test a network here.