Google has launched the eSIM Manager Android application for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on the Play Store ahead of the duo's market release, giving customers who have pre-ordered one of the two flagships a couple of preview screenshots on the method they will rely on for switching between different carrier profiles, once the flagship phones will be shipped. As a reminder, the eSIM Manager app will be used by Pixel 2 owners who have or will acquire one of the new smartphones via the Google Store or Project Fi, and virtually it has no use for customers who will purchase the device from Verizon Wireless.
Google's latest Pixel 2 series launching through Verizon Wireless follows a more conventional method of connecting to carrier networks, and as a result, it features a standard nano-SIM slot. On the other hand, the variants launched in the United States through Google's own store or via Project Fi take advantage of a newer standard called eSIM. As the name implies, eSIMs are basically electronic SIM cards embedded into devices and as a result, these types of eSIMs can be set up by the user through a dedicated application directly on their smartphones. This type of application was recently launched by Google on the Play Store under the name of eSIM Manager, and its official screenshots reveal a fairly simple user interface with options for switching between carriers, listing all the carriers, and gaining information regarding the EID. The application's description reveals that it allows users to download and manage eSIM profiles, and mentions that the app is only available on select Android devices. Following some testing, it seems that the original Pixel devices are unsurprisingly not compatible with the app, and as such the application should initially only be available for the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL once they start being shipped to customers. However, additional OEMs could theoretically make use of Google's eSIM Manager in the future. Earlier this year, research firm IHS Markit predicted that more OEMs will continue to adopt eSIM technology by 2019, with the number of eSIM-enabled devices shipping by 2021 possibly reaching 986 million units.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL should ship within the next couple of weeks but shipping dates have been subject to change and can differ from one color options to the other. Spec-wise, the series shares many similarities across the board, wrapping roughly the same internal components such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM in differently sized packages.