About a month ago, Google announced "Project Fi," its new wireless service available only to Nexus 6 phone owners.
On Friday, TechCrunch reported that Google has been sending emails to potential customers (who previous requested service) stating the company expects "it will take until mid-summer to get to everyone."
Google also indicated in the email that Project Fi's first customers have already gained access to the network and early feedback has been positive. The company also says it will soon release a tool that allows potential customers to track their invite's status.
Project Fi is an amazing concept, but Google is severely limiting its uptake by making it exclusive to Nexus 6 owners.
I think that by Google rolling out Project Fi Project only to the Nexus 6 phone, it is severely limiting the uptake on its product offering. I think the concept of this project is amazing and exactly where the industry will go long-term. That said, I think Google is leaving the door open for other players to come in and outcompete them.
This is a space that I could see someone like Apple coming into and rolling out a comparable offering and being very successful. While this may also benefit Google once the market has grown, my fear is that Google will have spent time and effort figuring things out and breaking down barriers and not really benefit as a first mover into that space. To be fair, from a purely benevolent standpoint I have nothing but respect for Google as it is projects like these that challenge the norm and change the world for the better. I am excited for the future!
Google is very often an early adopter into a space but the company sometimes fails to realize the true greatness of the initial ideas until another player grows the space for them: The Apple Watch could become an example of that. While Google is very strong technically they are often weak when it comes to productizing things. There are times when Google's organic, open nature becomes its downfall.
There are times when Google's organic, open nature becomes its downfall... Apple is coming to the MVNO space.
Coming back to Project Fi, I think it's only a matter of time before Apple launches into the MVNO space. Apple has a large advantage here: It has a limited number of devices to support and has already been playing in this area with things like iMessage and SIM-less technology. As a user, I really don’t care what network I am using the majority of the time as long as my data is encrypted when it needs to be and I have good network speed.
For now, we (along with Apple) will watch and see how Project Fi plays out.