Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the first phones to use an eSIM, but what does this mean?

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the first phones to use an eSIM, but what does this mean?

A SIM card – where SIM stands for "Subscriber Identity Module" – is a small piece of plastic with a chip embedded in it. Its main purpose is to let your phone connect to a cellular network and to let your carrier know that it is you using service on that particular device. An eSIM serves pretty much the same set of tasks, but differs from its traditional counterpart in a number of ways. One key difference is that it is embedded in the device, hence the "e" in the name; an eSIM is not removable, and it actually doesn't need to be.

Soon after their official announcement, it was confirmed that the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL are the first two phones to use an eSIM. It is an optional identification method, meaning that you can still use an existing Nano SIM card to get service, but if you'd rather live in the future and go the eSIM way, you're totally free to do so. Well, kind of. Google is adopting eSIM for its Project Fi carrier service – that's the only network that you'd be able to connect to via eSIM, at least for now. The option will be available during the initial setup process of your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. 

Why eSIM? Well, one reason is that it should be easier from a user perspective to get a phone up and running – there's no need to get a physical SIM card from your carrier and there's no need to look for a paperclip to eject that SIM card tray. Actually, the process should be no more of a hassle than connecting to a Wi-Fi network. But we believe that by implementing eSIM technology in its phones, Google is also aiming to bring us closer to a future where eSIM is the dominating method of carrier identification. Since eSIMs are smaller, using them instead of a conventional SIM card and SIM slot would free up space inside the phones of the future for other, more important circuitry. 

The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are scheduled to launch in the coming weeks. You can pre-order one today, as long as you have $650 or $850 respectively to spare

source: Google Blog

Related phones

Pixel 2
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2700 mAh
Pixel 2 XL
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3520 mAh

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20 Comments

1. darkoman4

Posts: 181; Member since: May 30, 2014

Don't like it, don't care for it. I want to take my sim from one phone and put it in another on demand without calling damn 800 number to activate it. I hope nobody follows this example

3. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Exactly. And this eSIM might be another data-minding from Google. Just no.

6. 1solo

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 15, 2017

I agree I'm constantly switching between at least 2 devices nothing more simple that just swapping the Sim card . I don't understand how they figure esim is a more easier method.

13. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3938; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

What if you could "swap" the eSIM as easy as NFC data, simply touch the backs of the phones together, I don't see why you assume it would be a hassle to switch from one device to another, could be as simple as punching in a code to make the transfer or any number of hassle free methods.

14. Settings

Posts: 2942; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Yesterday it was the headphone jack, but now its the SIM. And for tomorrow, the fingerprint scanner. How do they jack up prices while stripping features?

17. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4766; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Exclusive strippers are expensive.

2. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1337; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Interesting? I for one am looking forward to a future where we no longer need the carriers and their nonsense bloatware and high fees. I wish Google was allowed to install it fiber and high speed internet nationwide so that all mobile devices could use pure WiFi instead of cellular services for everything. This seems like the first small step towards this

8. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Remember the saying "If you are not paying for a product, you are the product"

4. niteiknight

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

We already have devices with eSIMs, like the iPad Pro. Honestly, it's as easy switching cellular networks with it as with WiFi. Pretty sure companies like Google and Apple wouldn't proliferate eSIM and then force users to call their carriers every time they wanted to switch.

5. Reybanz88

Posts: 84; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

And it still has those huge bezels lol okay...

7. mobiledigger

Posts: 110; Member since: Sep 24, 2015

It would free some space for a doomed headphone jack!

9. sgodsell

Posts: 6737; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Apple ditched to push their Bluetooth Airpods last year. This year Google ditched it, and now have their own Bluetooth Pixel buds.

10. fyah_king unregistered

I have 4 phones and they are all my daily drivers. I switched phones a lot, so this will not work for me.

11. Anchor

Posts: 160; Member since: Jun 16, 2017

Free up space for more important circuitry? Like headphone jacks and...

12. JC557

Posts: 1917; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

This is why these idiots pushing full on for the "future" end up being regressive as they think newer is always better. Verizon finally moved away from the SIM-less era during which they relied on IMEI numbers to register the phone to the carrier for use. This made it a pain to switch phones and it was locked to the carrier permanently. Once LTE became a thing the carrier finally switched to using SIM cards making swapping devices or dealing with replacements a breeze as you can do it yourself.

15. acme64

Posts: 124; Member since: Jul 13, 2015

why hasn't this been done sooner? i assumed the sim would of been the first thing to be dropped

16. monoke

Posts: 1127; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

So if I wanted to switch from back and forth between a pixel 2 and a phone with similar? 'Operators are busy. Please hold..' lol. No thanks. Hell they'd prob try charging a fee for it.

18. gigicoaste

Posts: 431; Member since: Feb 21, 2016

its far away to happen since are not many carriers which offers services for esim.

19. asiansatan

Posts: 59; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

Will this eSIM allow us, one day in the future, to have several (service provider) connections at a time? if so, no need to look for double and triple sim phones in the future!

20. Arashmahmoodi25

Posts: 128; Member since: Apr 07, 2017

if eSIM uses less energy then its a good thing .

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