Android Is Hoping to Steal one of Apple’s Best Software Features

Airdrop Iphone Credit: Aleksey Khilko / Shutterstock
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AirDrop has long been one of the quickest and easiest ways for Apple users to transfer photos, videos, documents and more between devices. Now, it seems, Android is finally catching up.

To be clear, Android devices have had similar features for a while. That includes the now-discontinued and NFC-based Android Beam, as well as Google’s Files Go apps. But none of those options were quite as integrated or efficient as AirDrop.

But Android makers are working to fix that. Earlier today, XDA Developers reported that Samsung was developing an AirDrop-like feature called Quick Share. And now, XDA Developers leaked a small peek at a native Google solution called Nearby Sharing.

In a video clip posted today, XDA Developers showed off using Nearby Sharing to transfer a video file between a Google Pixel 2 XL and a Google Pixel 4.

Just like AirDrop, the process seems quick and seamless. Not that it’s a perfect solution yet, because it’s obviously still under development. In the video, it appears that the file transfer fails at least once before working properly.

The feature apparently transfers files via Wi-Fi and will work best when devices are within one foot of each other. And just like AirDrop, users can restrict their device’s sharing settings to stop random people from sending them files.

While the video shows the feature working between two first-party Google devices, XDA also says that it got it to work on a OnePlus device. That could suggest that it’ll be a general Android feature when it drops, instead of a Pixel-specific one.

Of course, that brings up a few interesting questions. Google’s solution may be universal as a general Android feature, but systems made by device makers like Samsung could take advantage of tighter integration between hardware and software.

Android makers developing their own versions of AirDrop seems to have become something of a trend recently. In addition to Samsung and Google file transfer systems, Chinese OEMs Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo have teamed up to create their own cross-device solution.

As XDA points out, that could mean that Android users will soon have several AirDrop competitors to choose from, instead of none.

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