Rather than beat around the bush and come up with an intro that doesn’t sound like I drunkenly made it up on the spot let’s just get right to it today. Shall we?
Project Fi is (sort of) live!
EDIT: I’ll be updating the post as I can/needed.
Google’s MVNO isn’t quite ready for use just yet, but by visiting this link here you can signup for an invite (and check if there’ll be service in your area).
If you want to see if you’ll have coverage feel free to visit this page as well first before bothering to request an invite. (Although I went with the invite first cause SHUT UP AND INVITE ME ALREADY, GOOGLE!)
You can’t see it but I waved at all of you from the tip of Texas down at the bottom there.
Also, like far too many of Google’s more amazing services, this one at present is limited to the U.S. only at the moment. Sorry, everyone else.
Those accepted will start receiving their notices as of next week, although you will get one if you signup for an invite today, with new batches of customers being allowed in every week. Although a firm “yes” or “no” will be sent out within thirty days.
Here’s an example of what you’ll see when you submit your invite. (Yes, that is a screenshot from my Inbox, because you’re insane if you even for a second think I didn’t sign up for this the moment it went “live”.)
A FAQ page for the site is already up, with plenty of your questions being answered there. (So I recommend you check it out.)
As for how much and what do you need, that I can help you out with.
First off, you need a Nexus 6 for when the service launches to make use of it. Will that change at a later date? Can’t say just yet because I honestly don’t know. However, if you do not have a Nexus 6 at the moment don’t fret. Signup for an invite anyway! Assuming you’re selected you will be able to purchase one when the service launches officially.
Also, just FYI, buying a Nexus 6 when you signup seems to allow for you to pay it off over time based on the FAQ. If, for whatever reason, you decide to end your Project Fi service completely though any remaining balance towards your Nexus 6 will have to be paid in full.
Let’s not forget that the reason for the Nexus 6 being the sole device for use with the service at launch is likely because of the radio inside. It’s cross-carrier compatible and since Project Fi makes use of both Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks and WiFi to give you the best signal possible at any given moment then it’s really the only device that could be used at present. (Fair notice: Assuming public WiFi is the best option where you are at any given moment then you’ll default to it and any data you send/receive will be routed through a Google VPN to keep it safe and free from prying eyes/ears.)
Pricing though is where the “are you fucking with me?!” factor kicks in. $20 a month (no contract) gets you unlimited domestic minutes and text messages (this includes both SMS and MMS), as well as unlimited international text messages. As for actual data, that’ll cost you $10 per gigabyte used. Tethering your phone (as a WiFi hotspot) is also included in all this. There’s no extra fee required, like with the carriers, to use your phone as a hotspot.
As for that data, as I mentioned it’s purchasable in gigabyte allotments. There are no overages, although you will receive notices/warnings when you come close to using up your given allotments and you can then buy more data at that point. Any unused data at the end of any given month will be credited towards the next month. So if you buy 3 GB of data and only use 1.5 gigs then next month you’ll have 1.5 gigs ready and waiting without having to pay for it.
Also worth noting that you can port your number from your current service over to Project Fi. However, any fees required for cancelling your current plan are on you and you alone. So don’t go cancelling just yet.
Assuming you tie your number to your Gmail account though it is very interesting that you will be able to receive calls and text messages and respond to both across any device also connected with said Gmail account. The best way to explain that is with an example I’m already familiar with: My Google Voice number is currently tied to my Gmail account. If you call my Google Voice number it will ring me at my desk, my phone, and my tablet all via Hangouts and I can just pick up on whichever one is closest at hand.
As I mentioned last week, everything will be able to be dealt with by you via an app on your phone. Need to make a payment? Use the app. Need tech support? Use the app. Want to see how much data you’ve used? Use the app. And so on and so forth.
Shit, I’m honestly beyond excited about this. I know I’m leaving out so much, so you all ask your questions and then I’ll just dive in and answer them and edit the post accordingly. Yes? Yes.
Android 5.1.1 is official
Some of you might read that and think “What the fuck?! I’m still on Kit Kat!” And those of you currently still on Kit Kat, you have my condolences. Don’t blame Google for that though. Blame the carriers and the OEMs. They more than anyone hold up releasing updates. Although in all fairness to at least the OEMs, there’s usually a reason for that. Namely, ensuring updates don’t go out which contain more bugs and issues than the average person is willing to tolerate. (Trust me, I live on the bleeding edge and have dealt with my fair share of bugs and whatnot. You don’t want to have to deal with that.)
It is worth stating though that 5.1.1 is only official for the Nexus Player at the moment. All other Nexus devices are stuck on 5.1.0, with the exception of the Nexus 9 which is on 5.0.1 still. Which seems slightly odd. [shrugs]
Those of you with a relatively current Nexus device and who know how to flash factory images can get your groove on with said factory images via this link.
As for everyone else, looks like you’ll be waiting on your carriers and OEMs still.
Good news for Moto X users, 5.1 is on the way!
5.1 is very much on the way for Moto X (2013) and Moto X (2014) users. I am not at liberty to discuss how I know this, but take my word for it that you’ll have it soon.
No, I can’t do that to you all. I can’t just leave you hanging with no info whatsoever.
Based on firsthand knowledge I can say that Motorola is already rolling out a “test drive” update of 5.1 for Moto X (2014) users. That’s essentially the pre-official release version. Don’t quote me on that though.
Meanwhile, for you Moto X (2013) users out there, the 5.1 update has gone out officially in Brazil already. Which means the rest of the world can expect it relatively soon.
I advocate absolutely nothing, but if you know what you’re doing and know where to look you can get the .zip files for your stock unlocked device and manually upgrade if you’re so inclined. Although if you’re reading thing then that likely means you haven’t already done that and I’d say just wait for the update to hit your phone(s).
I can’t give any of you a time frame for when to expect the update, just remember that patience is a virtue and you’re better off having to wait longer than getting buggy software. (As someone who had a bug filled version of 5.0 for months just trust me on that. It’s not worth having now if it ruins the experience overall.)
Speaking of updates, Android Wear is getting one as well.
Android Wear is getting the 5.1.1 update as well.
The big thing incoming is WiFi support, so even if you don’t have your phone on you as long as you have a WiFi signal you will still receive incoming notifications. (Although I highly doubt that applies to calls and regular text messages.)
Apps will also now have an ambient mode, so when your watch is “asleep” they’ll still be operating in the background. This is something we only see with the watch face itself at present.
Also, on the off chance you do the same thing I do when it comes to carrying grocery bags (aka “fuck you, I will risk both my arms falling off rather than make multiple trips”) you’ll now be able to “flick your wrist away from you” to scroll up one card. For those moments when you absolutely, positively, have to know what is going on with whatever notification/app you feel like checking at that moment.
The Android Wear app has also received an update for the incoming Android Wear OS update.
First off, you can grab the apk from here.
The app itself got a slight makeover in the looks department. Nothing major, but you’ll note plenty of changes once you fire it up.
I didn’t snag a screenshot when I received the update this morning, but at first launch you’ll now see a screen that says “Make your watch smart” and ask if you want Google Fit to use and store sensor data, as well as ask if you want to connect your watch to WiFi with Wear cloud sync. Once you accept it takes you to the familiar interface for the app as seen above. (You have to go into settings and manually enable cloud sync though. So despite that first screen asking if you want it you still have to turn it on. Seems like a minor oversight, but it’s no big hassle to go do yourself.)
A seriously big change is that multiple Android Wear devices can now be paired to a given phone. Previously you’d have to remove a device and then put another one on and rinse and repeat if you had more than one Android Wear device. That is no longer the case and it’s awesome! Or it would be if I had more than one watch.
Pocket Cast has received a pretty great update
I won’t even bother explaining the update, just read the hilarious changelog for yourselves.
I can confirm that you can at last organize the podcasts as you see fit, as seen in a screenshot I just took.
Gone are the days where my buddy grabs my phone, fires up Pocket Cast and then says, “Hey, where’s that one where they talk about the bad movies we both like?” “Near the top, man. You should see Rafi near the top.”
For the record, the first three rows consist of what I listen to the most when driving. The two rows after that are when I want something I like listening to but that doesn’t make it into my “I must listen to these as soon as new episodes are out” cut.
And holy shit. I just realized the How Did This Get Made pic is actually Rafi and Andre’s heads on what would be Danny Devito and Arnold Scwarzenegger’s bodies and that pic is from the movie Junior. I am of slow on the uptake sometimes.
That’s all for now!
I got lots of reading to do.