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Google Fi preps ‘faster network switching’ with ‘multiSIM’ approach [APK Insight]

One key aspect of Fi is the ability to switch between different networks for the best connection. Google had to exclude this feature when the MVNO rolled out to all Android and iOS phones late last year, but now looks to be working on a new implementation that will make switching faster.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in case they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

As an MVNO, Google uses Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular towers. If you’re using a “Designed for Fi” Pixel or Moto G phone, Fi leverages “unique technology” to switch to the best network in your area. This occurs seamlessly in the background without any user interaction or drop-offs.

Google is now working on “faster network switching” by having “Fi use both of your phone’s SIMs.” Codenamed “starburst,” version 20 of the Fi companion app adds some user-facing strings for a feature that we’ve been tracking over the past several months.

<string name=”card_configure_starburst_init_title”>Maximize your networks</string>

<string name=”card_configure_starburst_init_description”>”Unlock faster network switching and more reliable connections by having Fi use both of your phone’s SIMs.”</string>

When Google references “multiSIM,” it is presumably referring to both the physical slot and a virtual eSIM given the general lack of devices with two physical slots in the US.

<string name=”starburst_success_title”>Your 2 SIMs are active</string>

<string name=”starburst_success_body”>”You now have even faster network switching. Both of your phone’s SIMs are now using Google Fi.”</string>

<string name=”starburst_failed_title”>Unable to activate second SIM</string>

<string name=”starburst_in_progress_title”>Maximizing your network connections\u2026</string>

The strings today only refer to a “faster” implementation of the current capability, but there could be implications for all other, non-Designed for Fi Android and iPhone devices that just use T-Mobile service in the future.

Google Fi 20.0 is widely rolled out today, but this “multiSIM auto switching” cannot be enabled yet. Settings to “Maximize networks” should appear when this functionality is available.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: