The Pixel 4's unveiling has given Google Fi an advantage over its competition, which is the ability to switch carriers on two SIMs, thanks to the Pixel 4 Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) capability. Both SIMs are now on Google's Fi network.
Google Fi, Pixel 4 and Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS)
The two network-switching SIMs are not the same, however: there's the physical SIM card slot and then there's an eSIM, an electronic SIM sans physical card slot. Both will allow Pixel 4 buyers to switch carriers on the go, but now there are two SIMs capable of switching carriers as opposed to one. Previous Fi users with some Pixel phones have been able to switch between carriers with one SIM, not two. Now, Pixel 4 buyers can use one SIM for calls and the other for texts.
The result of this two-SIM Google Fi usage is that your unlimited calling plan pricing stays the same as well as your selected data package, but running up your LTE data plan may be easier than before. It's often said that "two are better than one," but it's also true that "two [SIMs] consume more data than one" as well. Either way, Fi's new unlimited plan provides 22GBs of 4G LTE data and unlimited calls and texts, so you're all set.
What is Dual SIM Dual Standby?
Dual SIM Dual Standby is a feature that allows a phone with two SIMs (whether physical card SIMs or a card SIM and an eSIM) to connect to different networks simultaneously. On the Pixel 2, for example, Google had dual SIM support but only offered "single standby" (DSSS), allowing users only one registered SIM. The Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) option on the Pixel 4 changes the game in that now, both SIMs can be registered to different carriers simultaneously: in this case, both carriers are accessible on Google's Fi network.
"Dual Standby" is what Google refers to as "Dual Connect," but it doesn't allow both SIMs to be active on the networks but rather, registered to them. Both the physical SIM and eSIM (short for "electronic SIM") are on standby, ready to connect when you need to switch from using one SIM to the other.
Haven't we seen Google try Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) before?
Google has had some run-in with DSDS before when it attempted to bring the feature to the Pixel 3 in its Android Q Beta 2. Google later removed it in Android Q Beta 3. Late this summer, XDA Developers figured out that the Dual SIM Dual Standby feature on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL could be re-enabled by way of root access.
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL, Google's most affordable Pixels yet, have been given Dual SIM Dual Standby functionality, compliments of Google's Android 10 release, making them even more attractive than they were before (though owning a Pixel at such an affordable price has never been easier).
Pixel 4 now at Google Fi
Google provides this dual SIM network-switching capability at its own Google Fi MVNO, and for those interested in testing out Google's carrier, now couldn't be a more ideal time.
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, unveiled on October 15th, bring a lot more than just Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) to the table. The Pixel 4 features a 5.7-inch display with a Full HD+ (1080p) flexible OLED screen, 90 Hz display, Corning's Gorilla Glass 5 display tech, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 64GB/128GB of storage, 8MP front/selfie camera, 12.2MP main rear camera and 16MP telephoto lens, IP68 water and dust certification, and a 2,800mAh battery.
The Pixel 4 XL, in contrast, features a 6.3-inch flexible OLED display with Quad HD+ resolution, 90 Hz display, and 3,700mAh battery. Both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL feature the same processor (SoC), RAM, storage configurations, front and rear cameras, facial unlock, water and dust resistance, USB Type-C charging, and both Qi wireless and fast wired charging capabilities.
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL both lack a fingerprint sensor as well as the long-cherished 3.5mm headphone jack. Both run Android 10, Google's new Android system update that brings features such as Live Caption and the much-anticipated systemwide Dark Theme.
Additionally, the biggest upgrade to the Pixel 4 series would have to be the addition of the Project Soli radar chip that enables hand gestures to view information on the phone without touching the display. Google announced Project Soli at Google I/O 2016 three years ago, and the technology is now ripe to change the way Pixel users interact with their smartphones.
The Pixel 4 costs $799 (64GB) and $899 (128GB), while its larger sibling costs $899 (64GB) and $999 (128GB). Google Fi customers can also purchase the new Pixel 4 series by installment plan from Google at Google Fi via credit check. You can also purchase the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL from the Google Store.