New Nexus Phones Offer Access to Google’s Wireless Service
Google’s latest Android phones, the Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X, will offer access to Project Fi, the experimental wireless service that aims to seamlessly move phones among multiple cellular networks and Wi-Fi.
Google says Project Fi “gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network,” be that a cellular network or a Wi-Fi network, for a low, flat monthly fees. It works with existing cellular networks from US carriers Sprint and T-Mobile, and Google says it can automatically connect phones to open Wi-Fi hotspots that it has identified as fast and reliable.
This past April, Google invited a small number of Nexus 6 phone owners to use Project Fi. Now the service is available on a wider range of phones, Google said during a press event in San Francisco today. The catch is that access to Project Fi is still limited: users must apply for access through a Google website.
The service part of a large effort to give phone owners more freedom to switch between cellular carriers and reduce their wireless costs. On its iPad tablets, Apple lets users test out and choose from among multiple carriers; it may eventually add this service to its phones, as well. Project Fi goes still further, providing a way of automatically moving between carriers depending on whose signal is strongest.
Though the service is only available to a small number of users, Google’s likely aim with Project Fi is to push other device makers and wireless carriers in a similar direction—much as its Google Fiber project has sought to do for super-high-speed broadband. It’s understandable that Google would want to exert that kind of pressure: after all, the easier it is to access the Internet, the easier it is to access Google.
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