If you own a Chromebook and a Pixel smartphone then you have access to a very useful feature called Instant Tethering. It allows your Chromebook to easily gain an internet connection via your phone. Now it seems, Instant Tethering support is being expanded to non-Pixel devices.
Chromebooks require an internet connection to be fully-functional, which means either relying on public Wi-Fi or investing in a mobile hotspot when away from home. You may be able to gain a connection through your phone, but it can be painful to setup. Instant Tethering solved that problem, but Google limited its use to Pixel (and Nexus) devices.
As Android Police reports, there’s evidence appearing that this Pixel-only policy is being dropped. A OnePlus 6 owner by the name of Wouter has had Instant Tether enabled on his phone, allowing him to get an internet connection away from Wi-Fi. Another person by the name of Keith discovered he could enable the feature manually in a development build of Chrome OS (Dev v73.0.3669.0) and it then worked with his Galaxy Note 9.
Testing by Android Police couldn’t get the feature to work even when using the development build of Chrome OS. However, it is clearly starting to work for some users, which suggests a slow roll out by Google and a clear relaxing of the rules around which devices can use it. Eventually we could see Instant Tethering available to anyone who owns a Chromebook and an Android 7.1+ phone.
With examples appearing in the wild, hopefully it isn’t too long before Google makes an official announcement. Although, that announcement could just as easily point out this was an accident rather than a planned relaxing of the rules surrounding Instant Tethering device support.