Chrome OS 103 enhances Phone Hub, Nearby Share, and lays the groundwork for Fast Pair

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 back with Android figures
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Chrome OS 103 is rolling out now.
  • This update brings the ability to accent recent photos from Phone Hub.
  • It also provides the ability to use Nearby Share to connect a Chromebook to a Wi-Fi network.

When Chrome OS turned 10 last year, one of the big additions to the platform was the introduction of Phone Hub. Essentially, this provides more seamless integration between your Android phone and Chromebook, allowing you to quickly turn on your hotspot, locate your phone, and even view your recent Chrome tabs.

Google is re-announcing a new update coming to Phone Hub that makes it so you can now access any of your recent pictures. But instead of needing to wait for your Chromebook to get back online, this functionality works regardless of whether you're connected to a network or not. It relies solely on the connection between your Android phone and Chromebook.

(Image credit: Google)

This was originally announced during Google I/O 2022, before shortly appearing in the next Chrome OS Dev update. And now with Chrome OS 103, the improvements to Phone Hub are now rolling out to all of the best Chromebooks.

Keeping with the trend of improving the connection between your Android phone and Chromebook, Nearby Share is getting a bit of love with Chrome OS 103. Once the update is installed, you can use Nearby Share in order to quickly connect any Chromebook to a saved Wi-Fi network. All you'll need to do is open your Wi-Fi settings, tap Share, tap Nearby under the generated QR code, and "select the Chromebook you want to get online."

(Image credit: Google)

This appeared as a bit of a footnote, but Google also states that Nearby Share offers a "streamlined onboarding process, and sharing is up to 10 times faster." We'll definitely be putting this to the test to see how well it performs, but it's great to see speed and efficiency improvements being made.

Speaking of improvements, Google is giving everyone a tease for Fast Pair on Chromebooks. We've known this feature has been coming for a while, but Google now says it will be available "later this summer." Whenever it finally arrives, Fast Pair will work pretty much the same way that it does between the best earbuds and your Android phone of choice.

(Image credit: Google)

Provided that Bluetooth is enabled on your Chromebook, simply bring your headphones closer, and then follow the on-screen prompts to complete pairing. Connecting Bluetooth devices has been a pain for years, and we're excited to see Fast Pair come to Chromebooks. Maybe this will open the door to seeing Fast Pair made available for other accessories and peripherals such as a mouse and keyboard combination.

With the exception of Fast Pair, the rest of these changes are rolling out as part of the Chrome OS 103 update. Google does a pretty good job at making a new update available for everyone, so it shouldn't be long before it's available on your own Chromebook.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.