Though they aren’t sold in incredibly high numbers, there are Chromebooks available with LTE on-board and they provide a great solution to many users who need connectivity on the go. The number of LTE-enabled Chromebooks is only on the way up, so some of the features users expect from wireless devices are bound to follow, and few features are as weaved into the wireless device landscape as mobile hotspots.
The concept is simple: take a device that gets internet access via a wireless internet provider (i.e. – T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) and enable that device to share that connection just like a wireless router in a home or office would. This feature has become so common with smartphones that Chromebooks even have a built-in mobile data feature that uses your connected phone’s mobile data as a wireless hotspot when a standard Wi-Fi connection becomes unavailable. But what about the other way around? What if you had LTE or 5G on your Chromebook and wanted/needed to share that connection with a friend or coworker. Soon, you’ll be able to do just that.
Found just a day ago in the Chromium Repositories, changes are being made to enable hotspot functionality for Chrome OS. At first I thought this was a change to the existing mobile data setup we have had on Chromebooks for years at this point, but that is definitely not the case. As you can see in the specific file change below, this new feature is for setting up an Wi-Fi Acess Point, not connecting to one:
In the near future, it seems Chromebook users who have LTE or 5G enabled devices will simply be able to create their own wireless hotspot access point for those around them to take advantage of. While I don’t see myself using this sort of feature on a regular basis, I can imagine a scenario where many, many people do. After all, most of our wireless plans come with limited hotspot data, so being able to have two sources of data to pull from each month could be a big win. I could also see this being a big benefit to professionals using Chromebooks while away from the desk. Setting up a mobile hotspot on a Chromebook could be a far more battery efficient way for data to be shared to surrounding devices. We’ll keep an eye out for this to arrive and will update as soon as it shows up in the Stable Channel of Chrome OS in the future.