What you need to know
- Google has rolled out the developer preview of a new cross-device software development kit.
- The SDK is meant to help developers build apps that work across all types of devices.
- It only supports Android phones and tablets for the time being.
Google's Nearby Share already does an excellent job of transferring files to Chromebooks and Android devices, but with the release of a new cross-device software development kit, the company hopes to make it easier to use Android apps across all types of devices.
The search giant has announced that the SDK’s developer preview is now available, providing developers with tools to design apps that work across multiple devices, including Android phones and non-Android platforms. Google first unveiled this effort at its I/O event last May.
The goal is to simplify how developers build seamless user experiences across a variety of platforms by removing the hassle involved with device discovery, authentication, and connection protocols. The SDK relies on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ultra-wide band to handle multi-device connectivity. It is also backwards compatible with Android 8.
Google mentioned a few use cases in which the tool will come in handy. For example, you'll be able to use your smartphone to enter your payment method for a movie rental or purchase you make on your TV. When switching from your phone to a tablet, you can also resume reading a lengthy article where you left off. These are more on personal experiences. If you're in a group, you could, for example, share your bike route with friends that you’re biking with or create a group food order by collecting items from your colleagues without passing your phone around.
This sounds like an upcoming Nearby Share improvement discovered by Mishaal Rahman earlier this year, which would make sharing between your own devices a lot faster. The feature was already available in Google Play Services at the time, although it was not live for everyone.
For the time being, the SDK is compatible only with Android phones and tablets, but Google vows to extend the cross-device experience to "Android surfaces and non-Android OSs" such as watches, TVs, and cars in the future.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.