Google Play Services To Let You Stream Phone Apps To Your Chromebook

Top Chromebook Apps DG AH 2020

An incoming change to Google Play Services could soon let users stream apps from their phone to their Chromebook. That’s based on a new report from XDA Developers, following an initial teardown into update version 21.21.12.

Google hasn’t provided any details in the underlying code, regarding exactly how this would work. But the implications of the code that was found are fairly straightforward. The changes refer first to a string labeled “apps_stream_enabled_description” which also says “Stream apps to your Chromebook.”

The secondary change to that simply points to a string named “apps_stream_enabled_title” with the descriptor “Apps.”


What could this mean for apps for Chromebook users who have Android phones?

Now, this feature was first hinted at back in February. And it appears that the change is linked directly, and unsurprisingly, to Phone Hub. For clarity, that’s the Chromebook and Android feature that allows deep notification integration, phone control, and more on Chromebooks. And, based on previous changes regarding this feature, Chromebooks will be able to stream apps through that feature too.

That’ll happen via a new System Web App used to sync both video and bidirectional data over WebRTC. So, in effect, it will mirror the phone screen for the apps in question, and then stream data to and from that source device and Chromebook.

In short, letting users access the apps on their phone, via a stream, on their Chromebook.


Will this be Pixel exclusive and when is it coming?

As with at least a few other features, though not any associated with Chrome OS, the current expectation is that this feature will be a Pixel-branded exclusive. Namely, it will only work with Pixel-branded smartphones, if the current speculation is correct.

In the interim, there’s also no way of telling exactly when it might arrive. And there’s no guarantee that it actually will be a Pixel exclusive feature when it does. That’s if it does arrive at all. But it certainly isn’t active just yet.