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Android 8.1 may let you send and receive text messages on Chromebooks

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SMS Connect was discovered in the developer preview

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

We’ve heard rumors about receiving and sending text messages on the Chromebook before, but that function has now been discovered in the developer preview for Android 8.1, as spotted by ArsTechnica and 9to5Google.

Called SMS Connect, the feature allows users to send and receive text messages from their phone using the device's carrier number on the Chromebook. Users will also be alerted to new text messages through notifications. The feature was discovered in an APK called "SMSConnectPrebuilt," which is launched through an activity browser where a setup screen for SMS Connect opens.

Image: ArsTechnica
Image: ArsTechnica

ArsTechnica tried setting up the feature, as the Chrome OS does have an option to turn on SMS Connect, but noted that it didn’t work yet. It instead appears to just be a placeholder function. There hasn't been any details on which and how many mobile devices the feature might work with. But ArsTechnica did also note that it will likely be a Pixel-exclusive feature, hinted in the beta version's code that references "PixelExperience."