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Android Beam

How often have you seen two teenagers, sharing music through an iPod and each having a single ear bud? Google has taken that idea a step further.
Buried in the rollout of Android 4.0 and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was the announcement of Android Beam, which uses near field communication (NFC) to instantly share web pages, YouTube videos, etc. by just moving two Android phones together. Android Beam is the second NFC initiative that Google has rolled out along with Google Wallet (along with Citi and Mastercard), an NFC-based electronic payment system.
The demo at the debut of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus focused on the social communication aspect by highlighting the exchange of websites and map locations.

But is there a business impact to Beam beyond social networking? The first ideas that come to mind is the instant data transfer of calendar entries, contacts (no more “shoot me an email”), and files (no more cables or first moving the file to a PC). Taking it a step further, could you take a page from Microsoft’s “To the Cloud” and collaborate on a single document or spreadsheet by having two NFC-enabled tablets near each other?
Now, of course, all of this depends on having enough NFC-enabled devices in the first place (and it was notable that the iPhone 4S did not come out with NFC support) so it will be a while before Android Beam can really take off.  Once that happens, the common sight may be teenagers with their own set of ear buds but holding their smartphones together in order to share a song.


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Perry Hoekstra

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