Here’s our first look at Pixel phone display mirroring on Chromebooks
Google has been working behind the scenes for at least a year on a feature that would allow apps on your phone to be streamed to a Chromebook, similar to what is possible with Microsoft’s Your Phone service on Windows PCs or wireless Samsung DeX. Now we have our first look at the feature running, thanks to a new report from 9to5Google.
The screen mirroring feature, internally named ‘Eche,’ uses functionality included in the first Android 13 Developer Preview paired with a web app front-end. Unlike most other screen mirroring implementations, it generates a separate virtual display for apps with a larger viewing area, instead of rendering apps with your phone or tablet’s typical aspect ratio and display resolution. Even though this is intended for Chromebooks, 9to5Google was able to get it working on a Windows 11 PC.
The first evidence of this feature in development was slightly over a year ago, in February 2021, when code commits to the Chromium repository mentioned screen mirroring functionality. The feature popped up again in June, that time in Google Play Services, with a string that directly mentioned streaming apps to Chromebooks. However, this is the first time the functionality has been enabled and showcased in a functional state.
9to5Google also discovered that the feature will be available from the ‘Phone Hub’ on Chrome OS. Tapping on a notification or app icon will open a phone-shaped window with a video stream of the application, much closer to the functionality of Windows Your Phone.
Chromebooks have offered native support for Android applications for years, making this functionality less useful on Chrome OS than other desktop platforms. However, it could still come in handy for applications and services you can’t easily set up on Chromebooks (such as non-synced two-factor apps, or apps/games that don’t support Chromebooks). We’ll have to wait and see what the final version looks like.