Android Phones Get Apple Airdrop-Like Sharing Feature

Google LLC is set to launch Nearby Share, a new feature for Android that allows for direct sharing between two devices. Sharing of files, images, links, and other contents between Android phones will now be easier.

The feature can, however, only work for devices running Android 6 and above. Android 6 came out in 2015, so all Android phones made between that year and now are eligible for the feature. Samsung and some Pixel phones already have Nearby Share, and it would be available on other Android devices in the next few weeks.

Nearby Share is very similar to Apple’s AirDrop feature for the iPhone in that all you have to do is select the Nearby Share button on the share menu and wait for a nearby phone to become visible. Whatever file being shared is then transferred directly through your transfer method of choice.

Like AirDrop, you can also set your visibility on Nearby Share to distinct contacts. Files can be sent and received anonymously. Nearby Share adopts whatever method of transfer share the two phones deem fastest to share files. It could be Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC, or peer-peer Wi-Fi, which shows that it can work offline.

Nearby Share cannot share to iOS devices, Macs, or Windows machines, but is being tipped to work with Chromebooks in months to come. A plan for expansion of the feature to additional platforms in the future is being made by Google.

AirDrop for iPhone and Mac was introduced in 2011, leaving Android to go through several phases of ideas in a bid to aid the sharing of files. They have, however, not been able to match the convenience of AirDrop with only very few Android manufacturers adopting these solutions universally.

We hope that Nearby Share will be free of problems. If not, Android users would have to stick with the use of files app by Google email or cloud services, which have problems with disarray and unnecessary data fees. There’s already reason to hope for the wide availability of Nearby Share, as Google states that Google Play Services instead of a full OS update would be the channel for the addition of the feature on any Android phone.

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