Saturday, April 25, 2015

Google is On the Ball with Wear and Mobile

Google recently announced changes to Android Wear and their new mobile service Google Project  Fi. In previous posts, I have mentioned my experiments to forego standard mobile voice and text services, relying instead on mobile data services to carry voice and text via Google Voice.

Of course, it is not a clear-cut separation. My job requires that I travel to areas where mobile service is spotty, let alone data services. Therefore, I must have a backup voice service at hand to make and receive phone calls if necessary.

Where Android Wear comes in is that I had also considered leaving a tablet at home, a tablet at work, and an Android handset in the car. In this way, I can utilize Android Wear anywhere I go without having to schlep a tablet of phone with me. As it turns out, Google has enabled WiFi on Google Wear devices, making it so that you do not have to carry your mobile device with you to take advantage of all the features of the Wear timepiece. Wear will soon allow you to leave your paired device far away from your watch and still maintain a connection.

Project Fi also accomplishes the same thing that I have been trying to do by piecing together services. To recap, Project Fi will use WiFi and LTE services by both Sprint and T-Mobile to carry your voice and text services. If neither of these is usable, then it will fall back on standard mobile services.

This is the same thing I have been doing by relying on a prepaid T-Mobile phone using LTE to carry my Google Voice calls. Recently, I unlocked the phone and put in a Truphone SIM card, which gets free incoming calls and text messages.

The reason I chose Truphone SIM is that I can enable LTE data and disable it as needed for 9 cents per MB. This is expensive, if you are looking at Gigabytes of data. However, I shut off the data service most of the time and sync ony at hotspots. Most of the other times, I am with clients or driving, which require my full attention, thus no need for data.

It is not only Google who is trying to change the mobile market. Republic Wireless recently announced their Maestro lab, which also plans on refunding unused bandwidth. In addition, they are also looking into the possibility of using multiple carriers rather than sticking to the Sprint network.

Of course, I am betting on Karma to provide me with pay-as-you-go mobile data that does not expire, as soon as they finish production and ship out. They keep delaying their deployment; but, I've already prepaid several GB in anticipation. Once Karma ships, I'll have tremendous mobile liberty.

Exciting days are ahead because of the success of LTE, which makes all kinds of communication possible with its higher speeds and seemingly greater coverage. Exciting times are ahead. We are only seeing the beginning with Google Fi, Republic Maestro, and Karma LTE.

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