Google released the developer version of Android Oreo 8.1 last week. The update brings with it important improvements particularly for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. As expected, the developer build has also been dug into to find some hidden features. The latest discovery reveals a new feature that allows one to read and send SMS to their smartphones from a Google Chromebook. Also Read - Google won't let you sign in on these Android phones and this will happen soonAlso Read - Google Play Store announces blanket ban on Sugar Daddy apps over sexual content
First discovered by ArsTechnica on a Pixel 2, this feature is available under a new APK called “SMSConnectPrebuilt”. This feature doesn’t have a homescreen icon, but you can get a setup screen through an activity browser. On Chromebook, the process to setup this feature is by typing “chrome://flags” on the address bar, and then clicking on “Enable Multidevice features”. After this you need to restart the OS, and a new option of “SMS connect” will appear under the Settings menu.
However, even after setting up on both the Pixel 2 and Chromebook, the SMS feature still didn’t work. Considering the fact this is a developer build, the feature still isn’t ready yet, and it may or may not launch on the stable version. The screenshots of the setting up process does shed light on what this feature could possibly be for. SMS Connect’s description reads, “Read and reply to text messages on your Chromebook. To set up SMS Connect, allow access to your phone calls, messages, and contacts”.
In a simpler way, SMS Connect is similar to WhatsApp as it will allow you to read and reply to text messages on your Chromebook. Unlike WhatsApp Web which uses internet connectivity, SMS Connect would have carrier charges. Also, the report further highlights that SMS Connect will possibly be Pixel exclusive as it requires the “com.google.android.feature.PIXEL_EXPERIENCE” feature. ALSO READ: Google Chrome for Android now lets you view saved passwords
Google is expected to release the stable version of Android 8.1 Oreo in December. In addition to SMS Connect, Android 8.1 Oreo update enables the Pixel Visual co-processor on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. More features discovered include managing wallpaper colors, better performance for low-RAM devices when running Android apps, among others. RELATED: Android 8.1 Developer Preview rolling out for Pixel, Nexus devices: What s new