Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Fiber, announces Nashville has been selected for Fiber during a press conference in January 2015. SAN FRANCISCO -- Google parent Alphabet is focusing on new cheaper wireless technology to beam ultra high-speed Internet into people's homes, executive chairman Eric Schmidt told shareholders during the company's annual meeting on Wednesday. "To give you an idea of how serious this is," Schmidt said he had a "lengthy" meeting with Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat to discuss the technology on Tuesday. "There appears to be a wireless solutions that are point to point that are inexpensive now because of the improvements in semiconductors," he said. "These point to point solutions are now cheaper than digging up your garden and so forth."
Today, Kenwood announced that wireless Android Auto is active, but only compatible with select smartphones for right now. First- and second-generation Pixel and Pixel XL owners, as well as legacy Nexus 5X and 6P owners, can use the tech. These phones must be on Android 8.0 or higher. While Android 9.0 (or Android P) phones will be compatible with wireless Android Auto, Google is working with companies to to make 8.0 devices work as well. Android Auto is a new feature that allows users with phones running Google's software to access apps and features from their car's touch screen.
The new plan will be available starting Sept 9, and goes head to head with Google's Project Fi, which also offers an unlimited talk/text plan with 1GB. But Google's service actually has a lot more features that make it even more valuable for the price, such as prioritizing WiFi connections to reduce data consumption and free data coverage in more than 120 countries. The tech giant will also pay you back for unused bytes out of your monthly allowance so you only pay for what you use. For penny pinchers, this could mean plenty of savings. Those who prize network performance may also prefer Fi, which rides on T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular signals, while Cricket taps on AT&T's network.
JVCKenwood was a tad premature in announcing head units with wireless Android Auto given that phones weren't officially ready for it, but that support is finally here... more or less. Google has enabled cord-free Android Auto in vehicles that have an Android Auto Wireless-compatible infotainment system (built-in or aftermarket), but only if you have a relatively recent Google phone running Oreo -- that means a Pixel, Pixel 2, Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P. Sorry, folks, your LG- or Samsung-branded phone will have to wait. You'll also need a USB cable for the initial setup, so don't leave the wire at home the first time around. Wireless, smartphone-based in-car interfaces have been slow in coming regardless of which smartphone you use.
Google has announced plans to begin working a wireless home Internet service, which could beam broadband directly to its customers. The announcement means Google's parent company Alphabet could be giving providers like Comcast and Time Warner some serious competition in the near future. Although the tech giant hasn't developed the service yet, it could solve the'last mile problem', which is the expensive process of wiring a home for Internet services. Google began its first steps into wireless Internet when it developed Google Fiber in 2011, which provides high-speed Internet and cable services in some U.S. cities. Select cities like Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California, already have Google Fiber and the ultra-fast service is expanding to more cities.