Sizzling off the discharge of absolutely encrypted visitors earlier this month, Google’s mobile service, Mission Fi, is getting a brand new identify and drastically expanded gadget assist—though that gadget assist comes with some caveats.

The rebrand is straightforward—Mission Fi is dropping its “Mission” designation and is now simply “Google Fi.” There is a candy new brand that you may see above, which renders “Fi” in a Google-colored line artwork that’s more and more changing into a development in Google’s iconography. Google spoiled this a bit by sending out “Google Fi” flyers (full with the brand new brand) with some Pixel three purchases earlier this month, however now it is official.

Mission Fi’s largest downside has all the time been the restricted gadget assist, however, together with the rebrand, Google says Fi “now works with the vast majority of Android units and iPhones.” This feels like a giant enchancment from the handful of Fi-compatible units, however that extra gadget assist is a bit sophisticated. First we have to discuss how Fi usually works.

With Google Fi, Google is performing as an MVNO (Cellular Digital Community Operator)—the corporate would not personal any of the cell towers it’s utilizing for service and as a substitute buys entry from the large mobile firms and resells it to its clients. What makes Google Fi distinctive is that Google licenses service from a number of mobile firms and bundles them collectively—particularly, utilizing Google Fi within the US means your gadget will mix the T-Cellular, Dash, and US Mobile networks and can leap amongst them as wanted. This will get you higher, quicker, less-congested protection than you’ll get from any single one among these carriers. But it surely additionally means the telephones want particular and software program to allow them to leap from community to community.

The necessity to particularly alter a tool for Fi’s multi-carrier setup has meant that gadget assist has been extraordinarily restricted. So far as semi-current units go, there are a whopping six “Fi-compatible” telephones: The Google Pixel three, Google Pixel 2, Moto G6, Moto X4, LG G7, and LG V35.

In the present day’s wider compatibility announcement is not actually fixing this downside. If you need the total energy of Fi’s multi-carrier community, you’ll nonetheless want to purchase one of many above “Fi-compatible” units. Google’s expanded gadget assist will as a substitute permit any regular telephone to work on Google Fi as a purely T-Cellular gadget. Non-Fi units will get regular-old T-Cellular MVNO service, with out Fi’s service switching or the not too long ago introduced VPN encryption. All of it sounds precisely like Fi’s current “Knowledge-only SIMs” for non-Fi units, simply with calls and texts added. You will nonetheless get Fi’s current pay-as-you-go, contract-free pricing scheme, broad worldwide protection, and extra data-only SIMs at no additional cost. However you will even be getting protection that’s inferior to what a real Fi gadget will get.

To have a good time the rebranding, for right now solely (11/28), Google has a couple of Fi offers occurring. For any telephone bought by the Fi web site, Google says you will get “the identical worth again in your alternative of journey present playing cards, which you’ll spend on flights with Delta and Southwest or lodging with Airbnb and resorts.com” (as a result of Fi has nice worldwide assist, get it?). In the event you convey your personal gadget to Fi, you will get a $200 service credit score.

Since this marks the primary time Fi is offered on an iPhone, there’s additionally a brand new iOS app. iPhones will want iOS 11 or greater, and Android units will want Android 7.zero or greater and bands 2 and four.

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