The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a have had device protection on Google Fi, but Fi's owner is now adding in-store screen repairs for its latest-generation devices. The T-Mobile/Sprint/US Cellular MVNO took to its official Twitter account to make the announcement. "Device Protection just got better. Now you can bring your Pixel 3 and 3a in-store for repairs in as little as an hour. (And it's cheaper than replacing your device!), the Google Fi team wrote.
In-store repairs are always welcome for those who live close by a repair store. With in-store repairs added to the device protection for the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL, users will be able to stop in (if local) and get their device back in hand, brand new again, in as little as sixty minutes.
In-store repairs are not convenient for everyone, though, so if you don't live close by a UBreakIFix store, you'll need to send in your device the old-fashioned way when it gets water damage or the display cracks from a drop or fall. And the old-fashioned shipping method comes with an old-fashioned waiting time as well.
Google Fi's Device Protection plans are only for those who purchase devices from Google Fi online, and are not for those who have Android smartphones in general. The Fi Protection covers two incidents of accidental damage per twelve-month year as well as a manufacturer's warranty and an extended warranty, provided the enrollee keeps his or her device in the program for a long time. As long as the Fi customer pays his or her device protection and phone bill each month, Google will support the device in the event of manufacturing defects beyond the user's control.
Google Fi charges different prices to protect different devices under its Device Protection program. For example, the OG Pixel and Pixel XL cost $5 a month, as do the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL cost $7 a month, while the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL cost $5 a month. Replacement deductibles range from $35 to $149, and cracked screen repair is only available for the Pixel 3 series (Pixel 3, 3 XL, 3a, 3a XL) and costs anywhere from $19-$49.
The Moto G series, Android One Moto X4, and the LV G7 and V35 ThinQ cost between $3, $5, and $7 a month for Device Protection. Google's Device Protection prices are affordable when you consider that carriers like fifth-ranked US Cellular charge $10-$11 a month for basic device protection (you pay more for anything above the basics).
The Pixel 3 was announced with the typical fanfare back in October alongside the release of Android 9.0 Pie. The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are Google's most affordable Pixel phones yet, with price tags of $400 and $480, respectively.
Google has had its sights set on operating its own wireless carrier for some years now, with its cellular dream first being noted in 2015 when Google created MVNO Google Fi. Google has been leasing spectrum through T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular, offering its customers affordable service with $20 a month for unlimited calls and texts and charging $10 per GB per month for cellular data.
Sources say that Google is trying to ink a deal with Dish regarding Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile spectrum once the T-Mo/Sprint merger clears DoJ approval. Unlimited calls and texts work on any Android device, not just Android smartphones or even the one customers sign up on, so even Chromebooks and Android tablets can call and text under the $20 a month fee.
Google dropped the "Project" from "Project Fi" and rebranded the service "Google Fi" on November 28, 2018. Since that time, Google has gone from merely supporting Pixel phones and a few LG and Motorola smartphones to supporting other high-end smartphones. Just recently, the MVNO reminded Galaxy S10 users that the Galaxy S10 does work on its network.