Google Fi now works with iPhone — what does this mean?
It’s taken three years for it to happen, but finally, Google is making its Project Fi cellphone service something worth talking about.
Along with a new name that makes it sound more like a proper service than something that’s still under construction, comes some big news.
It’s now available on multiple Android devices, as well as on Apple iPhones running iOS.
That’s right. The newly-rebranded Google Fi is available on iPhone.
Google and Apple, Apple and Google. Wild, huh?
What the Hell Is Google Fi?
Good question, and one that many people are asking even though the project has been around for three years already.
In a nutshell, it’s a cell service for minimalists.
Not really, but it is stripped down and very easy to understand.
The basics are;
No contract. $20 per month for unlimited talk and text. $10 per GB of data used.
Boom, simple as that.
Even better is the fact that if you buy an extra gig of data and don’t manage to use it all within that month, Google will hit you up with a credit towards your next month’s usage.
There are no roaming fees in more than 170 locations either.
Essentially, Google Fi is a “mobile virtual network operator,” which means that the service customers receive is provided by one of the more established, larger carriers such as T-Mobile, US Cellular and Sprint.
Only certain phones can actively switch between networks though, such as the Pixel, while phones not “designed for Fi” can only access the T-Mobile network.
Apple and Google? Whaaaaat?
Although this isn’t the first time Project Fi has worked with Apple devices, this is the first time that Google is offering direct support for iPhones for new customers. Previously a Fi sim card would “technically” work in an iPhone, but you had to adjust the settings manually, and if we’re honest the vast majority of consumers aren’t going to do that.
Granted, it’s still in beta mode at the moment, but there’s a Google Fi iOS app that will help the process along.
Previous to this recent development the Fi service was only available on a small range of phones, including Google’s Pixel, so the increase to include iPhone and other Android devices could be something of a game changer for the service.
Is Google in It for the Long-term?
This is another good question, as it would not be unfair to say that Google has somewhat of a patchy track record when it comes to communication services.
How many people remember Google Fiber? Or Google Voice?
Admittedly, this does seem different though, despite the past few years of minimal activity.
The new rebrand came with some pretty sweet offers, which included essentially paying you back the cost of your phone by way of travel cards that could be used to fly with Delta or Southwest, as well as apartment and hotel rental with Airbnb and hotels.com.
The Big Verdict
One of Fi’s biggest attractions is the ability to seamlessly switch between networks, offering better coverage to those who use it, but this feature isn’t available to phones that aren’t specifically “designed for Fi.”
This is a bit of a downer for anyone who was hoping they’d be able to enjoy the benefits of Google Fi with the easy to use familiarity of the iPhone.
It is still in beta mode though, so who knows what changes may occur in the near future?
Personally, as a self-described Apple fanboy of sorts, I’d keep my powder dry before looking to switch, let the kinks in the system be ironed out first and see where Google Fi is at in maybe six months or so.
One thing is for sure; it’s good to see this project given some much-needed attention and brought to the fore.