AirDrop, the Apple technology that lets you neatly and easily share files between devices, doesn’t really have a built-in rival on Android. Yes, there’s Android Beam, but it’s considerably more messy, requiring NFC and a bit more knowhow that its Apple rival.
That’s probably why Google has a new file-sharing app planned. 9to5Google has managed to enable a new app called Fast Share, which seems to work in a similar way to AirDrop, and while it clearly owes a lot to the company’s Files Go app, having a solution built into everybody’s Android device will obviously make it a lot more practical.
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The app uses the Nearby service in Google Play Services to share files to devices nearby with no internet connection. It uses Bluetooth to find nearby users and then transfers the required files over a direct WiFi connection.
The process looks relatively simple. Just select the file you want to share, and then pick “Fast Share” from the share sheet menu. You’re then shown a list of target devices, with 9to5Google’s screenshots listing a Chromebook, a Pixel 3 a smartwatch and even an iPhone amongst the devices that can be connected to.
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That sounds impressively platform agnostic, though of course a few questions remain. For starters, will this require specific versions of Android to run? And will non-Android devices require their own software to be compatible? Both these questions could make Fast Share a little less universal than it currently appears, but nonetheless it looks like it’ll be an improvement on the little used Android Beam feature, which Google has already confirmed will be being phased out in Android Q.
Is AirDrop an iOS feature you’re jealous of, Android fans? Does this look like a viable alternative? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.