Windows 11’s best new feature will only be for Samsung phone owners
Windows 11 has got a nifty new feature that allows for much more conveniently hooking up your PC to a mobile phone with the latter acting as a Wi-Fi hotspot, although the functionality is just in testing for now, and only works with Samsung smartphones.
The ability to instantly access your phone’s hotspot is facilitated by the Phone Link app (formerly Your Phone), and it’s introduced in preview build 25231 in the Dev Channel (early testing channel for Windows Insiders).
Instant hotspot means you can very swiftly connect to your handset’s hotspot just by clicking a button – assuming the device is in range – without having to touch your phone or mess around with any hotspot settings, typing in passwords and so forth.
As mentioned, you need a Samsung device – running One UI 4.1.1+ to be precise – and your PC must support Bluetooth. You also need to be running the new preview build 25231 of Windows 11, of course, and have the Phone Link desktop app version v1.22082.111.0 (or better).
For more details on how to set it all up, see Microsoft’s blog post on the new build which further lists the other tweaks the software giant has made here, which are mainly bug fixes (and known issues).
Analysis: Please, Microsoft, bring this to other phones besides Samsung
This is a really smart and convenient touch for Phone Link to cut down on the hassle related to using your phone as a hotspot for your Windows 11 machine.
Common scenarios for when you might avail yourself of the instant hotspot are, for example, when you’re out and about, and want to use your Windows 11 laptop with your smartphone’s cellular connection. Or, maybe you’re at home and the broadband goes down – you might then want to hop on your mobile broadband instead via your phone, and can do so instantly with no fuss using this feature (until your full-fat broadband comes back on).
The obvious annoyance here is that it’s a Samsung-only feature, but for Phone Link users, that particular stumbling block is nothing new, as functionality has been tied to Samsung devices exclusively in the past a number of times.
When will instant hotspot come to other phones? We don’t know. Indeed, this is the early testing channel as observed above, so there’s a chance the feature may be ditched before making the cut for the release version of Windows 11. In this case, that seems unlikely, but who knows.
At any rate, fingers crossed for wider support than just Samsung devices with this one. It certainly seems a bit daft that you can’t benefit from this ability on Microsoft’s own Android-powered Surface Duo 2, but hopefully that’ll change soon enough.