Apple AirDrop is something many Android users are jealous of. Unfortunately Android’s fragmentation does not allow them to implement direct file transfer from one device to another without an intermediary app. That may well be set to change with three of the world’s top six smartphone manufacturers getting together to create a file sharing system from one device to another.
Xiaomi, OPPO (including RealMe), and Vivo have announced a new cross-brand direct file sharing alliance. Once implemented smartphones from all of these brands will be able to share files with each other seamlessly at up to 20MBps — and without a third-party app. The new P2P file sharing protocol will most likely use Bluetooth LE to establish connections between the two devices. The new protocol will then allow the user to send any file type from one phone to the other, and the phones do not have to be the same type for this to work.
There is nothing to stop other brands joining this alliance and considering the scope of customers these three brands cross it would not surprise us to see other brands jump on board including Huawei, OnePlus and more. There is also nothing stopping non-Chinese manufacturers joining the alliance — including Google — and hopefully this leads to a total Android system protocol allowing direct file sharing from any Android phone to another.
The alliance are expecting that the new feature will be available by the end of September but more details are unknown — will it be backwards compatible with all their phones? Will only specific phones or all phones have the feature implemented in the future? Will older phones be able to receive an OTA update to enable the protocol?
So many questions still to be answered but to see three of the largest manufacturers joining forces for something that benefits us all is a good thing. Hopefully more jump on board and we can see an Android-wide fast direct file transfer protocol that rivals AirDrop.