Apple iPhone’s most loved feature may be coming to Android phones

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New Delhi | Published: July 1, 2019 8:17:02 PM

Google is reportedly using the Nearby feature that is a part of the Play Services, which are available in the Google app on Android phones

If you have been an avid Android user who must have come across hundreds of apps that let you share files to other devices over a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. While these apps are quite intuitive and easily accessible, they have often been criticised for supplementing pesky advertisements. Android, as a mobile platform, started offering native file sharing over recent versions via Android Beam. Despite the option convenience Android has to give, Apple’s AirDrop has been the most reliable and ad-free solution for wireless file transfer.

With its tenth version, dubbed Android Q for now, Google is trying to emulate the file transfer technology given by AirDrop. In a teardown, folks at XDA Developers spotted a new file-sharing feature in Android Q that will use Wi-Fi, much like AirDrop. In contrast with Android Beam that used NFC and Bluetooth, the new feature called Android Fast Share uses Wi-Fi to locate nearby devices that have the functionality enabled. It then asks for authentication, if any, before the transfer of files begins.

The screenshots shared by XDA Developers shows that Android Fast Share will support Android phones, Chromebooks, as well as the iPhone and MacBook. However, we are not sure whether there will be cross-platform support available. The connection is established without the Internet, using an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network where the sender device creates a hotspot network while the recipient devices connect to it. The sender can set “preferred visibility” to allow their device to show up on nearby devices when a search is on or even when it’s off.

Google is reportedly using the Nearby feature that is a part of the Play Services, which are available in the Google app on Android phones. Nearby feature uses Bluetooth LE to locate eligible devices in proximity, such as a Chromecast or Google Home speaker. It is not clear what level of transfer speed Android Fast Share is likely to offer but it would undoubtedly be faster than Bluetooth transfers that Android Beam currently does.

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