What you need to know
- A developer video for Android 11 this week gave us a quick glimpse of Nearby Sharing.
- The feature will be prominently placed at the top of a (slightly) redesigned share menu.
- The Android Beam successor is set to bring AirDrop-like capabilities to Android.
Through its various iterations and nicknames, be it Fast Share or Nearby Sharing, we've been hearing about Google's AirDrop implementation for Android for quite some time now. And as the sharp-eyed folks at Android Police discovered this week, Google may finally be readying the feature for release with Android 11.
As part of a developer video on conversation notifications released earlier today, we got our first glimpse at a seemingly redesigned share menu and Nearby Sharing's placement in it. The mockup in the video places the Nearby option right at the top of the menu, next to the option to copy the item to the clipboard, while the app-specific options for specific contacts that you know and love sit below.
And that's about all we got from the video. Given that the video was not about Nearby Sharing, that's not entirely surprising, but what even that incidental glimpse may reveal is that the feature is nearing completion, and may yet be released alongside Android 11 later this year. Whether it'll be an Android 11-exclusive or propagated via the Play Store (and thus available to older versions of the OS as well) is unclear at the moment.
In case you aren't familiar with why the feature's so exciting, Android Beam, the feature Nearby Sharing is seen as a successor to, was an incredibly slow means of transferring files between devices as it used the Bluetooth protocol for transfers. Nearby Sharing, meanwhile, still uses Bluetooth for pairing devices, but once that's done, the actual file transfer happens over Wi-Fi, resulting in much faster transfer speeds and an overall more pleasant experience. Here's hoping Google gets around to releasing it sooner rather than later.
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