The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the first phones to come equipped with eSIM technology, but only subscribers of Project Fi will be able to take advantage of it.

Google’s Pixel 2 event was full of announcements, and although we had a pretty good idea of what to expect going into the event, Google still managed to sneak in a few surprises here and there – one of which being eSIM support.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL support the traditional nanoSIM technology that we’ve seen on smartphones for years, but in addition to this, they’ll also come equipped with a new technology called eSIM. Rather than using a traditional card, eSIM allows you to connect to your carrier’s network and service right out of the box without any physical card required. This technology has previously been available on gadgets like smartwatches and tablets, but this is the first time it’s appeared on a smartphone.

Until other carriers adopt the new tech, only Project Fi subscribers can use the Pixel 2’s eSIM tech.

This new tech is undoubtedly cool, but only a small group of people will be able to use it at first. For the time being, the Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL’s eSIM functionality will be limited to subscribers on Project Fi. There’s nothing Google can really do about this until other carriers adopt eSIM tech for their own networks, but either way, it’s insanely cool that we’re one step closer towards a future where physical SIM cards are a thing of the past.

Assuming you’re on Project Fi and preordered your Pixel 2, setup should be dead simple when you finally receive your new phone. There will be an option to use the Pixel 2 SIM-free during the setup process, and as long as you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, it shouldn’t take long at all to get your service working.

For those of us that aren’t on Fi, we’ll have to resort to using the Pixel 2’s nanoSIM tray (for now). That may well change in the future:

For now, we’re piloting eSIM on the newest Pixel devices with Project Fi. We look forward to sharing what we learn and working together with industry partners to encourage more widespread adoption.

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