Google is looking to make changes to the connection created with a smartphone in the Phone Hub feature on the Chromebook platform to make the battery more efficient. That’s based on recent reports detailing a change spotted in the Chromium Gerrit.
What does this Phone Hub change do to make things more efficient?
The big change that appears to be in the cards revolves around how Phone Hub works, to begin with. But not necessarily in the method used. As noted in the commit in the Chromium Gerrit, it allows the nearby connections client to request specific keep alive and timeout. Nearby Share will keep the default values. So that feature will still work as always, now that it’s been added to Chrome OS officially.
The change, summarily dubbed “[PhoneHub] Set keep alive and timeout longer for battery life,” does exactly what is implied. Namely, it lengthens the time between Phone Hub pings between the Chromebook and smartphone to make things more battery efficient. Specifically, it lengthens the ping from 5 seconds to 15 seconds. And it stops that polling at 60 seconds if there’s been no response.
That will make the phone connection more efficient on the battery side because it will stop the phone from having to maintain that connection as often. By lowering the timing to a third as often, it could, theoretically, by as much as three times, in fact. Although, it remains to be seen exactly how impactful a change this will be.
This is a Chromebook change but it’s coming to Android
Now, the change in question, oddly enough, doesn’t appear to require a Chromebook update. Instead, it’s thought to be arriving on the Android side of the equation. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s coming soon. But it will be arriving, if reports are accurate, via a Google Play Services update. So, given how often that updates, it could arrive sooner than later.