Wi-Fi is getting more attention, at least in the U.S. market, as the foundation for mobile service. Cable operator Cablevision Systems Corp. has actually launched a mobile service that is “Wi-Fi only,” with no default to any mobile network, ever. That capability could come later, Cablevision does say.
Several firms, including Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless, use a “Wi-Fi first, fall back on mobile” access strategy.
And now Google plans to go further, using a Wi-Fi first access, with fall back to at least two mobile networks, with the device choosing the best mobile signal available.
Beyond that new feature–fallback to more than one mobile network–Google also will be testing its algorithms and processes for selecting the access network based, in part, on what apps are being run.
So there is a reason Google’s new U.S. mobile service will feature use of just a single device, said to be the Nexus 6: no other devices will be able to do what Google wants.
The Nexus 6, running Lollipop, can switch device access between multiple mobile networks and available Wi-Fi, as well as to choose networks based on applications the device is running at the moment.
The Nexus 6 is built by Motorola, which built the handsets used by Republic Wireless, the U.S. mobile virtual network operator using a “Wi-Fi-first, fall back on mobile” access model.
Lollipop also can pick the best mobile network for specific apps, based on what those apps do.
For video streaming, Android favors the strongest signal, whether it is mobile or Wi-Fi. For less data-intensive apps, Android may choose a network with a weaker signal.