Phone Hub is Google’s initiative to help bring your Chromebook and phone closer together. It lets you check your notifications, and battery, and even ring your handheld device, see recently accessed apps and Chrome tabs, and more.
We’ve been following ‘Eche’ for some time, and while it’s always seemed to us to be a more direct way to ‘mirror’ your phone beyond the Hub’s capabilities, or even in conjunction with it, it hasn’t shown much public progress for some time. You can visit chrome://eche/app in order to launch it within its own app window after enabling its flag, but then you’ll only be met with a message stating that you need to open a specific notification in order to continue.
Today, 9to5Google has uncovered a new ‘Push’ feature for Pixel phones in their APK Insights report of the recent Android 12 Beta 5. Found on the ‘Recents’ screen via com.google.pixel.exo, the option as seen below could work much in the same way as services like Push Bullet. Swipe up on your pill navigation to call up a list of open apps and apps running in the background, tap ‘Push’, and said app or selected text snippet will appear in the Phone Hub on your Chromebook’s shelf.
9to5Google believes that both devices will have to be on the same network for this to work, which makes sense. They’ve come across code snippets that reference ‘Fast Pair’ and the ability to link to a device named “%1$s” which is likely a placeholder for your Chromebook’s model number or hostname.
<string name=”fast_pair_exo_customized_title”>Link to %1$s</string>
<string name=”fast_pair_exo_customized_description”>Use your phone’s apps directly on %1$s when you’re at home</string>9to5Google
At this time, it’s unclear exactly how Eche will go about doing what it sets out to do – be it pushing over app data from your phone to your laptop or mirroring entire applications from one screen to the other. If it does perform the latter operation, it could be akin to ‘casting’ your screen the same way a Chromecast does, so that you don’t have to pull your phone out of your pocket whatsoever if you’re sitting down to work.
Whatever the case, we’re excited to see this finally making progress and can’t wait to test it out when it makes its debut. It would be great if Google announced the feature for Chrome OS with Android 12, which is rumored to release officially on October 4th. With ‘Push’ seemingly being a Pixel-exclusive feature, this would make the most sense, but we’ll have to wait and see.