Android 8.1 may allow Chromebooks to send and receive text messages; could be exclusive to Pixel devices

A hidden APK named 'SMSConnect' was found within Android 8.1 which when opened, reveals the ability to read and reply to text messages on a Chromebook.

With the increasing number of computing device, interconnectivity and easy to access important functions is essential for users. SMS responses have been one such function that customers have long demanded Google to make it easier to respond. While a developer using a test build of Chrome OS back in July had hinted rumours about receiving and sending text messages on Chromebooks to increase the interconnectivity and easier of access, it has now been found that this could soon be a reality.

Android O. Oreo

Android O. Oreo

This is after a new application was discovered in the developer preview for Android 8.1. As per a report by ArsTechnica, a hidden APK named 'SMSConnect' was found within Android 8.1 that reveals the ability to read and reply to text messages on a Chromebook, when opened. After the required setup to a smartphone is completed, Chromebooks will now be able to interact with text messages, allowing the user to read and reply to messages directly.

A Chromebook application for the functionality has not been spotted yet though it is expected to be just a matter of time before it shows up. ArsTechnica also noted that this may be a feature exclusive to Google's Pixel range of devices. This was noted after it was found that SMS Connect requires the "com.google.android.feature.PIXEL_EXPERIENCE" feature.

SMS Connect. Image: ArsTechnica

SMS Connect. Image: ArsTechnica

Google announced the Android Oreo 8.1 Developer Preview recently with a number of notable changes. The upcoming update to the current Android 8.0 includes a number of optimisations and enhancements for Android Go, the Android environment that is meant to be less memory demanding and ideal for devices with 1 or less that 1 GB RAM. Google has also added a new Neural Network API in the operating system allowing users to make use of the API for ‘on-device machine intelligence’.

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