What you need to know
- Google's upcoming Phone Hub will make it more beneficial to pair an Android phone with a Chromebook.
- It may offer notification mirroring and cross-device task continuation when launched.
- Chromebooks already have a "Better Together" feature, but it lacks the notification mirroring offered by Microsoft's Your Phone.
Google may be planning to deepen Chrome OS and Android cross-device integration with the launch of a new feature, Phone Hub, on the former platform. Phone Hub is a set of features recently added to the Chromium codebase over (spotted first by the folks over at 9to5Google).
It's already present in Canary builds of the operating system, albeit tucked behind a feature flag. When Phone Hub is enabled, it would have the following features as per the upcoming setting strings:
- Phone Hub Notifications
- Phone Hub Notifications Badge
- Phone Hub Task Continuation
Paired with Phone Hub's feature flag description as "Provid[ing] a UI for users to view information about their Android phone and perform phone-side actions within Chrome OS", and it's sort of clear what Google's planning.
When this feature goes live, a user will be able to control their phone to some extent using their Chromebook. They'll be able to hand over tasks to some extent (perhaps tying into Chrome OS's Android app compatibility) and see notifications. Interface-wise, It'll slot right in with an expansion of the Better Together settings page.
While iPhones and MacBooks have picked up really good cross-device integration, it is the integration between Windows PCs and Android phones that comes as second best courtesy of Microsoft's Your Phone app. Google's better together does bring the Messages PWA and Smart Lock, but one of those is universal and the other doesn't offer much value.
Previously dubbed low-end devices for students, Chrome OS laptops have shot up in brand cachet. Now first-tier companies like Asus, Acer, and Samsung now make some of the best Chromebooks in 2020, competitive with Windows laptops especially as far as hardware's concerned. One thing's for sure, If Google does release this feature, it's certainly going to be another reason to buy a Chromebook for Android aficionados.
At a glance
The Googliest Chromebook to ever Chromebook.
Just like with its Pixel phones and Android software, the Pixelbook line brings the best of Google's Chrome OS software to the laptop form-factor. With a beautiful screen and a roomy keyboard, the Pixelbook Go is worth considering.
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