In Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Android Beam -- that's the NFC-based device-to-device transfer service -- has been augmented to support sending photo and video content. This is done from within the Gallery app, and can be activated by holding two NFC (Near-Field Communication)-supporting Jelly Bean devices back-to-back while one has an image or video open. Then, when prompted, tap the screen to send, just like earlier Android Beam incarnations. File transfers themselves are handled by Bluetooth, so depending on your device's Bluetooth version support, your transfer speeds may vary. However, it is nice to see the hassle associated with Bluetooth file transfers all but eliminated thanks to NFC and Android Beam.
Android Beam's latest upgrade also means it can support transferring multiple files. Simply long press on a photo or video in the Gallery app, select as many items as you like, then hold the devices back-to-back to send. Like we said, though, the fact that Bluetooth is used for all the heavy lifting means that you probably won't want to send too much stuff over Android Beam if you can help it. In our experience, though, it's worked out pretty well for smaller stuff.
We should note, however, that while the new Android Beam shares a lot in common with the Samsung Galaxy S III's S Beam, the two technologies aren't compatible. Samsung's uses Wifi Direct for file transfers after an NFC connection has been established, compared to Android Beam's Bluetooth. So sending photos from a Jelly Bean-equipped Galaxy Nexus to an ICS-running Galaxy S III won't be possible. (And actually, this may present something of a technical headache when the S III eventually gets Jelly Bean.)
In any case, if you want to check out how this all works in more detail, you can find out hands-on video of photo and video transfers over Android Beam after the break.