While users of Apple devices – be they smartphones, tablets or desktop computing devices – have for long had AirDrop, users of Android devices have had to make do with a variety of solutions meant to do the same thing: transfer files wirelessly – and fast!
The end result has been built-in solutions that every device maker implements. Third parties have also not been left behind with solutions such as Xender (formerly known as Flash Share) showing up over the years. Then there’s the usual standards that such solutions have relied on. Bluetooth, for instance. And the peer-to-peer process of connecting two devices without the need for a router popularly known as Wi-Fi Direct.
What if all this could be standardized and it stopped mattering what device you were using?
That is exactly what a new partnership of 3 of the biggest Chinese device makers seeks to achieve.
The three, Xiaomi, Oppo (including sub-brand Realme) and Vivo, are finally ready to roll out a solution they announced last year when they made known the existence of the said partnership, the Peer-to-Peer Transmission Alliance.
The solution, as given away by the partnership’s name, is meant to make it easy to share files across devices.
Users of devices from the three companies will be able to share photos, videos, music, documents and other things without the need for third-party solutions, the need to be connected to the internet.
“Users just need to turn on their WiFi and Bluetooth, or turn on the function under “menu”, then select the files that they wish to share. If the other party also has the function turned on, an icon will pop-up to notify the user. Once confirmed, the selected files will be transferred,” a press statement notes.
The solution, which is expected to start rolling out as from next month, promises transfer speeds of up to 20 Mbps.
Additionally, the peer-to-peer wireless connection established between two devices transferring content does not interfere with the network connectivity of either device meaning that users can continue being connected to their Wi-Fi network while transferring files.
Previous attempts at other device maker-specific wireless solutions have hit the wall.
Samsung’s S Beam, which took advantage of the NFC capabilities of select devices, never took off and was silently withdrawn. Last year, Google pulled the plug on Android Beam, which is what Samsung had rebranded to S Beam, anyway, marking the end of the use of NFC for file transfer on Android.
Google has been rumoured to be developing its own “Fast Share” solution for a while now. Will we see it this year?
Notably missing from this alliance is another giant Chinese device maker, Huawei.
Huawei has over the last 4 years been pushing its own solution, Huawei Share, which is available across its devices since the release of EMUI 5 and which works pretty much like the solution being fronted by the 3 device makers: through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (Direct). For its integration with its laptops, it also makes use of NFC.
Both Oppo and Vivo have established an official presence in the country while Xiaomi devices have been available through third parties in the country for a few years now.