Discovered by XDA Developers‘ own Mishaal Rahman, the much-discussed Eche app for phone screen mirroring is now making an appearance in Chrome OS Canary. The new feature will reside on the user’s shelf via the Phone Hub which connects their phone to their Chromebook when enabled.
Mishaal encountered the new “Recently used apps” section in his Hub before it crashed on him, so it’s clearly very early on in the development cycle. Earlier this year, Eche switched over from a standard PWA to an SWA, or System Web Application, giving it closer integration to the operating system. “Eche” is apparently a Spanish word that means to throw or to cast, so giving users the ability to perform this action from one device to another means that this was appropriately named, even if it is just a temporary code name.
Similar to Tote previously being called “Holding Space” while it was being created and made ready for the public, “Eche” will likely have a more consumer-friendly name at launch. Most interestingly, the Settings app in Mishaal’s Tweet shows a Phone Hub section for his Pixel 3XL that can toggle “Apps” and it states “Temporarily use your phone apps right from your Chromebook”.
While this word “Temporary” doesn’t seem to make much sense at first, keep in mind that attempting to launch Eche at this time via its URL,
chrome://eche-swa will produce an error that says you need to pick a valid notification first before force quitting. So, by that logic, it’s likely that you won’t be able to open and browse your phone apps fully on your Chromebook because, well, your Chromebook can already natively install and use those apps. That would be pretty pointless, right?
Instead, I see this solving the issues of app notifications from your connected device in Phone Hub not being clickable. At this time, they’re purely informational, and that gives a very disjointed and half-baked experience. Why have notifications at all if you can’t interact with them, right? Presumably, Google can’t find a way to cause an incoming phone mirrored notification to launch a locally installed Chromebook Android app, so launching your phone’s app by mirroring it and then automatically navigating you to that notification so that you can take care of business is the next best thing.
In the photo, you can see that Telegram was recently opened on Mishaal’s phone and had he opened several other apps prior to visiting his laptop, he would see those lined up as well. I’m guessing that up to 10 apps can occupy the Hub space that’s been carved out for these icons at this time, but if I were Google, I would probably just limit to the last five. This way, it looks much less cluttered and only provides you with what’s most relevant at any given time.