Samsung brought out folks during its SDC 2014 keynote to cover a whole host of areas that the company is focusing on, and one of the more interesting ones for the Android crowd is a new sharing platform called Samsung Flow.
Landing somewhere between Apple's new Continuity features and our current system of manually sending content links between devices, Samsung Flow builds on Android's share and view intents to quickly hand off information between your nearby Samsung devices, including phones, tablets, televisions and even watches. Here's how it works.
Now of course this is being shown off at a developer's conference so things aren't quite ready to go, but we do have a glimpse into how Samsung Flow is going to work between Android devices at the start. Flow is actually just a clever use of an app and syncing framework to hand off content from one device to another using Android's sharing intents.
With Flow installed on two (or more) Android devices that are close to one another, you can share any content that would normally be shareable with Android's standard share intents — but instead of sharing out to a specific app, you share to Flow, which then lets you choose which other nearby device to share to. So say you're looking at a web page in Chrome on your phone and want to look at it on your tablet instead — share it to Flow, then tap your phone in the list and the proper app will launch on the phone and load the page.
You can also time shift your shares by sending it to a queue in the Flow app. That queue is synchronized when devices are near each other, letting you pick up at any time right where you left off when you added that to Flow.
The second level of this is even cooler, as Samsung is opening this up to let app developers put deeper hooks to flow in their apps. For example if a browser or video player integrated deeply with Flow, the shared web page would save the scroll state on the page or the video player would pick up playing at the time code you left off at.
In either case because Flow works on the framework of Android's sharing intents, it lets you do this quick device switching without waiting for app developers to update their apps — you just get extra features if they update. And Samsung is working hard to expand this functionality to larger and smaller screens within the Samsung ecosystem as well. We can expect the ability to hand off video play from a tablet to a smart TV or a phone call from your phone to your watch in the near future.
This is just the beginning for Flow, but it has us intrigued because of its inventive use of an existing system to provide better sync between your devices as you move throughout your day.