Technology

You could quickly be capable to take cellphone calls in your Chromebook

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Enlarge / Samsung Galaxy Chromebook.

Samsung

Chromebooks powered by Chrome OS are generally seen as a simpler alternative to Windows and macOS systems. But as more Chromebooks flirt with four-digit price tags – for example, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, and the recently announced Acer Chromebook Spin 514 – consumers will be asking for at least a little more functionality. To that end, a feature that is being worked on in Chromium’s open source code review tool would give Chromebooks a capability that Windows and macOS computers already have.

Based on an “Add Feature” flag discovered in Chrome Unboxed’s Chromium Gerrit, you may soon be able to receive phone calls on your Chromebook using the Phone Hub feature. The description for the flag that was created to “enable the incoming / ongoing call notification feature” states that it “enables the incoming / ongoing call feature in Phone Hub”.

Currently, you can use Phone Hub to view your Android phone’s notifications, recently used Chrome tabs, and to send and receive text messages. Being able to answer calls would give you one less reason to pick up the phone. Windows users with Android devices already have this option through their phone, and macOS users with iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches have the same option with the continuity feature.

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While Phone Hub supports phones running Android 5.1 or higher, the new feature may only be available for Pixel phones – at least initially. This is partly due to the excitement for Google’s “Eche” initiative, a software bridge designed to mirror Pixel phones on the Chrome desktop. The company didn’t officially announce Eche, but it also came through the Gerrit grapevine.

According to a brief teaser in the keynote at the Google I / O conference in May, Google is also expected to update Phone Hub so you can view your latest photos on your computer. We hope Google will expand the features to as many users as possible instead of holding them hostage behind its Pixel phones.

The “Your Phone” function from Microsoft works with all Android phones from version 7.0. Considering that Google makes both Android and Chrome OS, it would be strange if Windows were to welcome various Android phones more kindly than Chrome OS.

We may find out more on October 19th when Google launches the Pixel 6.

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