Search engine giant Google is taking additional steps to becoming a smartphone manufacturer as well as a wireless service provider. Earlier this year, Google’s parent company Alphabet announced Project Fi, an effort to improve the wireless data experience offered to United States consumers with a prepaid option that is more attractive than what is currently offered by the likes of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
In essence, Project Fi is mobile network virtual operator that purchases blocks of wireless data from companies such as U.S. Cellular, Sprint and T-Mobile. Although Project Fi is not the most affordable option, it does provide cost savings as it automatically connects to Wi-Fi hotspots in range, a feature that is available in 135 countries. Project Fi also offers an advanced billing feature that rolls over unused data that is credited back to consumers in the form of a discount applied to the next billing cycle.
Not all smartphones support Project Fi; the first one was the Google Pixel released in 2016, which was followed up with the Pixel 2 earlier this year. Heading into the holiday season, the Motorola X4 is the third smartphone supporting Project Fi. The first Pixel smartphone has been in short supply since its debut, which leaves shoppers two realistic options for taking advantage of Project Fi.
It should be noted that Motorola was once part of Google’s tech empire, which means that its smartphones are designed to run a stock version of the Android mobile operating system with superior performance. The X4 smartphone is more affordable than the Pixel 2 since its hardware structure is not as advanced; however, the X4 holds the upper hand in terms of battery life and it also features a traditional headphone jack. At $399, the Motorola X4 is the most affordable handset for people who want to make Project Fi their wireless service provider.
As can be expected from a Google smartphone, the Pixel 2 excels in terms of Project Fi compatibility and performance. The Pixel 2 runs a stock version of Android Oreo, which comes loaded with useful Google apps such as Maps, Lens, Assistant, and Drive. The Pixel 2 offers 64GB of storage and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, which provides more than adequate performance to run advanced apps such as Google Lens.
With a price tag of $649, the Pixel 2 is a pricier option to try Project Fi. As the service becomes more popular, other smartphone manufacturers will produce more handsets that will support this network.