Finding wireless Internet access on the go can be a real challenge at times, particularly if you’re not in the mood to pay an exorbitant fee. But if you’re traveling between now and the end of the month, your search for free access may have just gotten easier thanks to Google Play and Boingo. That is, provided you’re not trying to use an iPad or iPhone.
Yesterday, the two companies announced that they are joining forces to provide free Wi-Fi at more than 4000 Boingo hotspots across the country through the end of September. The locations that will receive this free Internet access include dozens of hotels, restaurants and cafes, as well as malls, subway stations and 15 airports, including JFK and Chicago O’Hare.
This isn’t the first time Google and Boingo have teamed up in this way, but there is a slight difference this go around. It seems that iPhones and iPads, as well as Windows Phones, are being left out of the gratis Internet party. Yesterday’s press release clearly states, “Android phones and tablets, as well as Windows and Macintosh laptops, will be offered complimentary Wi-Fi” as part of the sponsorship program. The specific mention of Android products seems to indicate that the hotspots will be filtering based on device, preventing gadgets from Apple and Microsoft from connecting to the network.
As Android has grown in prominence, Google and Apple have begun to clash more directly in the mobile space. The two companies are now direct competitors with one another and by locking iOS devices out of the free Wi-Fi program, Google is telling users that if they had an Android device they could come to the party too. This short-term promotion isn’t likely to convince mobile users to switch to Android, but it is a subtle jab none the less.
For their part, Apple is being even more aggressive. Later today they’ll announce the next iPhone and the release date of its new operating system. That version of iOS will ship without YouTube, Google Maps or any other kind of built-in Google services as the two companies look to divorce themselves of one another as much as possible.