(Pocket-lint) – Amazon has sent emails to customers with Echo devices to tell them that their devices are now updating with Amazon Sidewalk. The email has been sent out to Echo users in the US, UK and Germany as far as we are aware.
However, Amazon UK has now been in touch with us to say that the email should have only been sent out to customers in the US and that the Sidewalk technology remains US only for now.
An Amazon spokesperson told us: “We recently began emailing customers with Echo devices registered in the US to give them more information about Amazon Sidewalk. This service will only be available in the US when it launches. We apologise for any confusion.”
Clearly there’s something amiss as numerous customers in Europe are receiving the email despite Amazon’s insistence that the emails were sent out to “Echo devices registered in the US”. At least two of our UK-based team received the email, so we’ve asked Amazon for further clarification on that.
Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network between compatible devices that helps extend their range beyond the reach of your Wi-Fi. We’ve got a full explainer on the tech here: What is Amazon Sidewalk, which devices use it, and how does it work?
The new Echo/Echo Dot and newest Ring Floodlight and Spotlight cameras work as Sidewalk bridges so they can be at the centre of the Sidewalk network and communicate with other Sidewalk compatible devices such as pet trackers, Ring smart lights and the new Ring Car Alarm when they’re out of Wi-Fi reach.
Amazon says Sidewalk will use a small portion of internet bandwidth equivalent to around 500MB per month – there are some privacy questions here because Sidewalk could help with the connection to devices you don’t own – say somebody else’s pet came into your garden with a compatible pet tracker, then it might ping its owner via your Echo’s Sidewalk connection and consequently your Wi-Fi. However, Amazon says that any information transferred over the Sidewalk network is encrypted. There’s no ongoing cost for access to Sidewalk.
You’re able to disable Amazon Sidewalk on these devices should you wish – and judging by the initial reaction on Twitter many are quite surprised at the concept of it. In your Alexa app tap More > Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk.
The full list of current Sidewalk devices is as follows: Ring Floodlight Cam (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019), Echo (2nd Gen), Echo (3rd Gen), Echo (4th Gen), Echo Dot (2nd Gen), Echo Dot (3rd Gen), Echo Dot (4th Gen), Echo Dot (2nd Gen) for Kids, Echo Dot (3rd Gen) for Kids, Echo Dot (4th Gen) for Kids, Echo Dot with Clock (3rd Gen), Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen), Echo Plus (1st Gen), Echo Plus (2nd Gen), Echo Show (1st Gen), Echo Show (2nd Gen), Echo Show 5, Echo Show 8, Echo Show 10, Echo Spot and Echo Studio.
Corrections – [24/11/2020] 19.45 GMT: Amazon sent us the above statement clarifying that Sidewalk is a US-only feature for now.
Writing by Dan Grabham.