Acer Chromebook Spin 713 running ChromeOS
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In an upcoming update, Chromebooks equipped with mobile data will be able to serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices, just like Android and iOS devices can today.

In the last few years, Chromebooks have grown to be even more portable than they were before, breaking free from needing a Wi-Fi connection, thanks to new models equipped with mobile data. Before that, the usual path to getting online while on the go would involve a hotspot from your phone or finding free Wi-Fi networks nearby.

Now it looks like Google is preparing a way for you to flip the script on your mobile data connection, allowing your Chromebook — with its much larger battery capacity compared to a phone — to host a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices. The work-in-progress feature has made its first appearance in ChromeOS code in the form of a new flag coming to chrome://flags.

Hotspot

Enables the Chromebook to share its cellular internet connection to other devices through WiFi.

#hotspot

The details are quite slim at the moment, with little more than the flag description available today. That said, it’s easy to imagine how a mobile hotspot would work on ChromeOS, based on how the same feature works on Android phones today.

Presumably, you would be able to choose the name and password for your Chromebook’s hotspot through the Settings app in ChromeOS, where you can also toggle the hotspot on and off. If it truly follows the example of Android, there would also be an easy way to turn on your hotspot through a Quick Settings toggle.

It’s not clear how much demand there has been for Chromebooks with mobile data to be able to serve as a hotspot for other devices, but considering the capability is already there in the hardware, it seems like there’s no good reason not to. As work is only just beginning, it’s likely we won’t see full support for using your Chromebook as a Wi-Fi hotspot arriving until much later this year.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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