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Android Instant Tethering connects a tablet to your smarphone’s data connection

by Todd Haselton | February 11, 2017February 11, 2017 12:00 pm PDT

Google is now rolling out a new feature called “Instant Tethering” to the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL and Nexus devices running Nougat. Instant Tethering allows an Android tablet (or another phone), such as the Pixel C, to automatically detect if your smartphone has an internet connection. If it does, and there’s enough battery life left, it’ll tap into it and give you a data connection on your tablet. Don’t worry, this won’t work for just any smartphone near an Android tablet, software will first check over Bluetooth if the devices are both using the same Google account.

“If it does, we will give you an option to enable a secure hotspot and pair automagically, without even taking your phone out of your pocket,” Google product manager Omri Amarilio said on Friday. “When you are done, if you don’t disconnect, we will notice that you stopped using your tablet and we will disconnect the hotspot for you to save your precious battery throughout the day. Lastly, we’re so excited about this feature that we have rolled it out to Nexus devices running the latest Nougat as well.”

That includes the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, so long as they’re running Android 7.1.1 or newer. Other devices that can share the connection include the Nexus 9, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Pixel and Pixel XL, all of which need to be running Android 6.0 or newer.

Apple has something similar

I hope Google plans to roll this out to other Android tablets because it’s a super useful feature, and one that’s similar to what Apple offers with an iPhone/iPad/Mac combination. I’m just not sure how many people out there own two of the supported Android devices. My guess is we’ll see this trickle to more devices eventually.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...