Android 13 preview shows how Pixel phones could stream apps to your PC

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Google’s January outline revealed plans to spend 2022 trying to make the Android and Chrome OS experience match Apple’s ecosystem integrations, including a feature that would mirror a messaging app from your Android phone on your Chromebook. Thanks to 9to5Google, which did some digging in the recently-released Android 13 developer preview, we might have an early look at what that feature will look like.

Google first outlined the mirroring feature in January.
Image: Google

Based on what 9to5Google found, it appears that Google will essentially enable streaming apps to your computer. And the feature might end up working on non-Chrome OS computers, too, as 9to5Google says it used the web app involved on both Chrome OS and on Windows 11.

Here’s how the feature works, according to 9to5Google:

Your Pixel generates an entirely separate virtual display, which is streamed to your laptop or desktop, rather than simply mirroring your phone’s portrait screen. This second display is where your messaging apps will appear. This means you can have an app open on your laptop/desktop without disrupting any apps running on your phone’s main screen.

And it isn’t just messaging — you’ll apparently be able to open any of your phone’s apps:

At the bottom left, there’s a menu button that, when clicked, reveals the full list of apps installed on your phone. With this menu, you can launch any app on your phone, not just the messaging apps. In effect, your entire phone is accessible through Pixel’s cross-device streaming.

9to5Google’s article has some videos and screenshots that do a great job showing off what this app might be capable of, and I highly recommend you check out the story to see it in action.

Here’s a screenshot from a 9to5Google video showing the app streaming Twitter.
Image: 9to5Google

9to5Google also got cross-device streaming enabled on Chrome OS, though it seems the publication was only able to get a messaging app working.

As with any feature in development, there’s always the chance that what 9to5Google found changes ahead of a public release. And given that we’ve only just gotten the very first Android 13 developer preview, there’s definitely a possibility that things will look or function much differently if or when these features become available. Still, what 9to5Google found seems quite promising.

Google didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

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