In the beginning of 2015, rumors began to swirl that Google was flirting with the idea of becoming a mobile carrier, later confirmed by Googler Sundar Pichai. That said service would run on Sprint’s network and possibly on T-Mobile’s as well. Possibly under the guise of Google LTE-A, little was known about the service. Well today that changes because a leaked app from a recent Nexus 6 image, gives us an inside look at what we could expect from the search giant’s network.
Before anything else is said, it should be noted that this, like all rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. Recently, a firmware image for the Nexus Phbalet was uploaded to motofirmware.center. Since that time, both the image and the site appear to be down but XDA has a mirror to said file. According to writers at Android Police the firmware image was a reconstruction of an internal build distributed to testers. That build, LVY47H, appears to have been built on or after Feb. 16.
While there may be other tidbits of things in that build, one application stands out: Tycho.apk. According to the guys at Android Police, the app is signed with a release key, however, that release key can’t be matched to any current or past keys Google has used. In the breakdown of the app, they found some interesting things.
Tycho is the codename given for the app and it will act as the interface for Google’s new carrier service. It is currently signed with a certificate that contains the name “nova” in the CN field. The application title, “Project Fi,” is rampant throughout the app.
As far as the app is concerned, users will be able to partially activate the service, request a new number or initiate a transfer within the app. Users may also be able to see status updates when things change, updates on problems and so on as well. As if that weren’t enough, it looks to be possible for users to also close an account, suspend an account or resume service from the app as well.
As far as Project Fi is concerned, it shows that users will only be charged for what they use. Like other carriers there will still be service plans but allotted data that goes unused will be credited at the end of the month. If users exceed their data, they’ll be charged the same flat rate for each gigabyte and from all appearances there is no artificially hiked overage fees. From what can be seen, there’s also a flat rate for talk and text.
For data, you’re charged per gigabyte. From some of the strings it also appears that there will be separate MMS pricing. Like the current hangouts model, if you’re calling in the US it’s free and international calls will be charged at a lower rate.
Some of the unknowns include whether or not multiple lines will be able to share data, but it appears that the app is prepared for a data-use-only scenario. It also appears that the app will allow users to switch their primary device at the press of a button, a boon for developers and people who need to switch phones constantly.
Strings in the app also confirm that Sprint and T-Mobile will be onboard during launch.
Another thing that was noted was Google’s usage tracking. Now before you get all up in a tizzy, it will act much like it does with your usage of other Google apps just with your call history. Basically, if you call a pizza place, an ad for it may show up during your usage. However, Google is publicly pushing the ability for people to opt out of such a service if they don’t want to be a part of it, something other carriers rarely do.
Other than that, there’s not much else we can get from the app. It’s anyone’s guess on when we’ll see this service. It could be that it’s announced at I/O this year and rolled out later. It could be that it’s rolled out without any announcement at all. Let’s face it, it’s not out of Google’s realm of possibility to do either.
source: Android Police