Google’s Project Fi Successfully Installed on Nexus 5

One of the many announcements Google made at this year’s I/O developer conference was a new cell service that operates within the Sprint and T-Mobile networks. Dubbed “Project Fi,” it uses a new form of technology that automatically switches between WiFi and various cell carriers with whom Google has partnered to create the best possible signal and experience possible. Google revealed that Nexus 6 would support Project Fi, but if you are the proud (and loyal) owner a Nexus 5 handset, there might be a solution for you.

Wherever you’re on Wi-Fi—whether in your home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave—you can talk and text like you normally do,” wrote Google in its description of Project Fi. “If you start a call over Wi-Fi and walk outside, Project Fi detects when your signal becomes weak and seamlessly moves your call over to a cell network to keep the conversation going.”

When Google announced its Project Fi service, it claimed that the Nexus 6 would be the only smartphone compatible with the service. News of this revelation was met with fierce criticism from Android users, many of whom are using devices other than the Nexus 6. But it appears that Google may have been wrong in its statement, because a new report indicates that Project Fi is working on a different smartphone.

XDA Forums user Robpol86 has apparently found a way to install Project Fi on the original 2013-2014 Nexus 5. This isn’t the first time someone has attempted to install Project Fi on a non-Nexus 6 smartphone, nor will it be the last. What makes Robpol86’s story different, however, is the fact that he actually got it working.

According to the forum post, Robpol86 first activated Project Fi on his Nexus 6. Next, he removed the Project Fi SIM Card (yes, it uses a SIM card), at which point he used to a non SIM-to-Micro SIM converter to place it inside his Nexus 5 handset. Lastly, he performed a factory rest to wipe his Nexus 5 clean of data. This allowed him to create a new Gmail account and go through the normal process of setting up Project Fi. Sounds simple enough, right?

Robpol86 posted an update, saying that “everything still works fine.” He added, however, that when he places a call, Project Fi automatically disables VoLTE, switching him to the slower HSPA+. It’s unclear what’s causing this issue, or if perhaps it’s a compatibility issue with Project Fi and the Nexus 5.

If you’re thinking about downloading and installing Project Fi on your Nexus 5, there are a few things you should. First, there’s no guarantee that it will work. Sure, Robpol86 may have gotten it to work, but this doesn’t mean you’ll experience the same level of success. Also, you’ll have to perform a factory reset if you want to follow the same steps as Robpol86. Just the thought of wiping your smartphone clean is sure to turn some users away from this practice.

In any case we can’t guarantee that this will work for you, but if you have a Nexus 5 lying about and don’t mind giving it a try, hit up the XDA forums for instructions on how to proceed.

What do you think of Google’s Project Fi? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Google's Project Fi Successfully Installed on Nexus 5
The new Nexus 6 will work with Project Fi, a technology that enables Sprint and T-Mobile users to allow them to switch easily between WiFi and cell carriers. Normally not compatible with the Nexus 5, someone says he figured it out!

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