Android Beam’s days are numbered. The NFC-based tap-to-share feature is going away in Android Q, and 9to5Google just spotted what looks like it’s replacement in an update to Google Play Services.
After its initial discovery, Fast Share was quickly poked and prodded by the good folks at XDA Developers to get a look at what it does and how it works.
Fast Share looks like it’ll operate in much the same way as Apple’s AirDrop service – set a device name, look for nearby devices over Bluetooth, then go for a direct connection over local WiFi. It’s similar to a sharing feature in the Files by Google app.
To initiate a share, a new Fast Share icon appears in the sharing options (it looks like the Nearby diamond). Set your device name, adjust some visibility options, and you’re off.
Fast Share looks like it’s meant for moving files around. It’s not clear whether you’ll be able to use it to replace Android Beam for things like sharing the current website from your browser, but that’s probably a feature better left to messaging programs these days.
Rather than having one way for Android Q+ devices to share files and one way for everyone else, it looks like delivering the feature through Play Services will ensure all Android devices get access to the new feature. It also means your mates with weirdo non-NFC devices can get in on the action. There’s probably a higher proportion of devices with Bluetooth than NFC.
It also looks like Fast Share might roll out to more than just a Android, with example icons around the UI including a Chromebook, a watch… and an iPhone.