Thanks to a leaked app we now know a bit more about the mobile service that Google hasconfirmed it will launch this year. Cody Toombs at Android Police has written a detailed analysis of an app that was found in a leaked internal build of Android for the Nexus 6.
The app k, lets users manage theirProject Fi wireless account. Project Fi is likely a placeholder name for Google’s MVNO, which Toombs speculates will be called Google Wireless. Android Police is labeling the find as a rumor and cautions that although the app looks genuine, Google is very likely to make changes to its wireless service before launch.
Toombs extracted a number of text strings from the app that look like parts of the menus, prompts and alerts. These strings suggest that:
- Google’s wireless service will be prepaid.
- Users will pay an unspecified flat fee in advance for unlimited US voice calls and text.
- International calls will be charged per minute, like they are with Google Voice
- Customers will purchase data in advance in 1 GB increments and will receive a refund for unused data at the end of the month.
- Overage data will be billed at the same price per GB as data purchased in advance.
- Accounts with multiple lines sharing the same pool of data will be supported.
- Data only plans may be available.
- Interest free financing of Nexus 6 phones may be available
- Customers will be able to activate the Google wireless service from within the app but only if their Google account has been authorized. I suspect that means the service will be invite only initially.
- The service will automatically switch between using T-Mobile or Sprint depending on which service has the best signal. Customers will be able to disable auto switching and switch carriers manually.
This is just a quick summary, the Android Police article is very detailed. I recommend reading it if you are at all interested in Google’s forthcoming wireless service.
According to Google Product chief Sundar Pichai, Google’s wireless service will launch at small scale and is intended to spur innovation rather than to compete directly with the wireless operators. The service will probably only work with the Nexus 6 at launch. It’s expected to route voice, data and messaging over the best available connection whether its WiFi, T-Mobile or Sprint. Google is is expected to launch the service At Google I/O which will be held May 28 and 29. Like many of products Google launched at I/O in the past like Google Music and Google Glass, I suspect that Google Wireless will only available to Googe I/O attendees initially and then be offered on an invite only basis with prospective users able to request an invite online.