Chromebooks may soon have the ability to stream apps directly from an Android phone, which could allow typically entry-level laptops to become even more versatile.
The news comes from XDA Developers, who performed a full teardown of the latest beta of Google Play Services (v21.21.12) and found data to suggest the feature is under development. While the feature is not live yet and is not technically confirmed either, the inclusion of its footprint in the beta certainly indicates that it is in the works.
The beta doesn’t contain any information on how the feature works, although it’s probably more useful for streaming gaming apps. Chromebooks rarely come with a dedicated graphics card, so this could be a great way to expand the gaming potential of some of the better Chromebooks. It can also allow users to read and respond to notifications they receive on their phones, which can come in handy when using a Chromebook for work, for example.
It’s also a mystery what devices it would be available on – although Google may make it an exclusive for the upcoming Pixel 6. Instant Tethering, which allows users to share a phone’s mobile connection with a Chromebook, was. Originally limited to Pixel only, although it was gradually made available on non-Pixel devices as well.
This new streaming feature was first mentioned in February, when a reference to it was spotted in the code of Google’s open source Chromium browser. It revealed that Google plans to extend Phone Hub functionality to Chrome OS by allowing users to mirror a smartphone screen to a Chromebook.
While the ability to stream from a smartphone is indeed exclusive to the Pixel 6, at least initially, we should expect to hear more of it in early fall, as Google typically introduces its latest flagship smartphone in September. We’ve heard a lot about the device before, with recent leaks suggesting that it will have a killer camera upgrade and powerful graphics enhancement – as well as a huge overhaul.