A few weeks ago, we reported that Google was slowly rolling out a new feature exclusively for Play Services 10.2 that would allow multiple Android devices to piggyback on each others’ cellular data to stay connected at all times – a feature they’re calling Instant Tethering.
At the time, we said that the feature was only rolling out to eligible devices on a test basis. We now know what those devices are. As with the highest versions of Android Nougat, Google is keeping this card close to its chest as well, only pushing the feature to the following devices:
Google Pixel and Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and Nexus 9.
All devices should be running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow or higher for the feature to work. If you have an eligible device and it’s been rollout out for you, you should be able to see the feature under Settings -> Google -> Instant Tethering. Don’t forget: you’ll need to update your Play Services to version 10.2 before you can see it.
The feature itself has limited capability since all the devices must be signed into the same Google account for it to work. The shared cellular connection idea is a great one, but only if Google decides to extend this capability for other devices as well rather than just its own stable of mobile products.
Another point to note is that if you want to include a “guest” connection at this point, that’s not possible because it’s tied in to a single Google account. If Google can extend Instant Tethering capability to multiple users and multiple accounts, it could become a really useful data-saving feature for Android device users.
For now, we’ll need to be satisfied with just the devices they’ve mentioned. More news to come when it’s available, so stay tuned.
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