Google's new Instant Tethering feature: Can you get it?

android hotspot
rebecca l.

Few things can feel as frustrating as when your device falls offline.

Well, Google is aiming to do away with that frustration, by making it easier than ever to get back online when your Android device loses its connection. But how does it plan to do that?

In IT Blogwatch, we stay connected. 

So what is going on? Aaron Mamiit has the background:

Google...started rolling out a...feature for Android devices that will allow users to remain connected to the internet when their connection is lost...Called Instant Tethering, the feature that is part of Google Play Services 10.2 makes is easier for users to utilize their Android devices as mobile hotspots.

But how does it work? Ryan Whitwam has the details:

Instant Tethering links up devices that are associated with your Google account...if one device loses connection, it can...ask if you want to tether to your other device -- no additional setup necessary (uses Bluetooth to negotiate the connection). It even shows...the battery level of your other device. This makes the most sense with a tablet connecting to a phone, but it should...work with any devices as long as one has a cellular connection.

Sounds good so far. What else do we know? Stephen Hall fills in the blanks:

The new Instant Tethering menu gives you two radio buttons...one from [the] providing data connection, and another to let your device locate other devices with a connection...it’s clearly rolling out to at least some people [but] we’ve installed Google Play Services 10.2 on our devices...and aren’t seeing it quite yet.

Sounds like Instant Tethering doesn't work for all Android Devices. So, for the important question -- who can use it? Andrei Vlad knows more:

The new feature is being pushed to Nexus and Pixel devices that are powered by Android 7.1.1 Nougat...Moreover, the Nexus 9 and Pixel C are supported as clients...which means these devices can connect to compatible phones.

And does Instant Tethering fill a real need? Eric Ravenscraft seems to think so:

Many Android phones can create...hotspots to share your...internet connections, but they can be tedious to set up. Google wants to fix this with...Instant Tethering.

So, are users looking forward to using it? Kai Unger thinks it is about time

This feature is overdue.
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