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article imageGoogle's wireless service 'Project Fi' revealed in leaked app

By James Walker     Apr 15, 2015 in Technology
Google's plans to create a subscription-based wireless mobile service controlled entirely through an app have been fully revealed in the best possible way - a leaked version of the under-development app called Tycho.
The existence of the app was revealed by Android Police. It appeared in an unofficial firmware image for the Google Nexus 6.
In the image, an app file called "Tycho.apk" was found. Android Police says that a "trusted source" confirmed that the app is authentic.
The app cannot be run but it does contain around 500 message strings to be displayed in the interface. These reveal a lot about the app's functionality though.
The app itself seems very reminiscent of the apps offered by current carriers today. You can view your data usage, pay your bill or view details about your plan.
There is some extra functionality however. You can request a number or switch between several numbers without needing to change SIM cards.
Eventually, it is believed that you will be able to suspend your service from within the app. Alternatively, you will be able to cancel the entire contract.
Reference is made to three different names in the app: Tycho, Nova and Project Fi. Tycho is the app itself while Nova has been the codename of Google's long-rumoured mobile service and seems to represent the physical infrastructure while Project Fi is the service that users will see.
It will be free to call or text in the US. Data will be paid for on a what-you-use basis, by the gigabyte. It seems as though Google is partnering with mobile carriers T-Mobile and Sprint to provide the service.
A key feature for many people will be the ability to switch phones from within the app. Most existing carrier plans don't let you have multiple SIM cards for use in multiple phones but Project Fi will let you start receiving calls and texts on any phone you own by simply setting it as the default.
The emphasis here is very much on wireless data though. With simple, transparent pricing where you only pay for what you have actually used and the prospect of full control through an app across multiple devices, Google may be able to lure many people onto its new mobile platform and away from the traditional networks.
This could shake-up the state of the mobile operators in America. Although Google's mobile products chief Sundar Pichai confirmed the rumours last month, the company has not publicly spoken about how the service will work. Explanation can be expected to be found at Google I/O this summer.
More about Google, Mobile, Contract, Service, Subscription
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