Android devices and ChromeOS may become best friends in the near future as Google is reportedly working on better integrating the two platforms.
Hints of this move were discovered by industry expert AssembleDebug on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) who recently dove into the files of Google Play Services version 24.06.12. After activating several internal flags, he discovered two new features are currently in development plus certain sections will be renamed to better fit the changes. As 9To5Google points out, Device Connections will be renamed to Devices & Sharing, and there is a new option called Cross-Device Services.
Tapping the section for the first time allows users to choose the Android phones and Chromebooks they want on their cross-device network. There doesn’t appear to be a limit to how many gadgets you can have connected at the same time. It also looks like you can send out invitations en masse to nearby hardware during this time. Once setting up is done, you’re given access to the aforementioned features. Keep in mind it’s unknown exactly how these tools work although there are short descriptions under each one offering a bit of insight.
Cross Device Services in Google Play Services✓ Call Cast ✓ Wifi Sharing✓ Hotspot SharingMight be enabled in upcoming beta version of Play Services. Screenrecord is from version 24.06.12, enabled with a lot of flags.#Google #Android pic.twitter.com/bvUbnYbB9dFebruary 9, 2024
Call Cast lets you presumably hop between devices during calls, however it “only works with certain apps”. Internet Sharing, on the other hand, is more nebulous. Judging from the onscreen text, it’ll give users a way to share their hotspot connection as well as their Wi-Fi password to member devices in a group. It saves you the trouble of having to re-enter your password every time you want to add another phone.
Imminent roll out
That’s pretty much all we can gather from this latest info dump. Given the fact AssembleDebug was able to trigger the update and the near-finished state of the interface, we think it’s safe to say the patch is rolling out fairly soon. It’s unknown exactly when it’ll come out, but Android Police in their coverage predicts it’ll release next month for Google’s March Feature Drop alongside other updates. These include the eSIM transfer tool plus Bluetooth Quick Settings.
As with every leak, take all the details here with a grain of salt. Things could change at any time. That said, if it’s released as is, it would be a great upgrade to the current mobile environment. Chromebooks already offer cross-device connectivity to Androids, but it’s limited to primarily app streaming. Improving usability like this could allow Google to finally establish a hardware ecosystem similar to Apple’s own.
While we have you check out TechRadar’s roundup of the best Chromebooks for 2024.