AirDrop is a feature of Apple devices that Android users have always looked enviously at. Now Google has announced to release a counterpart to Apple’s popular service. Nearby Share should be available for all devices from Android 6 on.
Distribution has already started
The search engine giant has now started to roll out its new Nearby Share feature. Tablets and smartphones that have at least Android 6 installed as operating system can use this new feature. Initially, however, only selected devices may benefit from the feature. Thus, first of all the in-house devices of Google can use Nearby Share. These include Pixel 4, Pixel 4a and Pixel 4 XL. But some smartphones from Samsung will also receive the corresponding update. In addition to the smartphones and tablets, notebooks that use the Chrome OS operating system will soon follow.
Multiple waves of distribution
As it is usual with Android, not all users at once may benefit from the new service. This is due to the strong fragmentation of the operating system. But patience is rewarded. Thus, not only the latest devices with the upcoming Android 11, but also older devices from the version Android 6 on should be able to use the service. The AirDrop pendant is to be distributed via the Play Store. On the OnePlus North one could already find first hints about the service.
How does it work?
Nearby Share should be able to use different protocols for data transmission. Thus it probably relies on Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC or peer to peer WiFi. Fortunately, you can also use the feature offline with this. This offers many advantages. According to Google, Nearby Share clearly focuses on the explosive topic of data protection. For this reason, Nearby Share should be able to offer an anonymous mode for sending and receiving. Whether and how the feature finally proves itself in practical tests, we will see.