Three of the biggest smartphone manufacturers unite to bring an AirDrop alternative to Android

Three of the biggest smartphone manufacturers unite to bring an AirDrop alternative
Something people unfamiliar with iPhones are often surprised to learn is that iOS doesn’t have a “share via Bluetooth” option. Instead, Apple users rely on the company's proprietary AirDrop feature to send files between each other but if an Android device gets involved, the options are email or an app.

AirDrop uses a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to establish a fast and secure connection directly between two Apple devices which makes it very convenient. So far, there’s no such feature that works universally on all Android phones although some manufacturers have their own solutions. Well, that might change soon.

Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi announced in a press release that they’re forming the “Peer-to-Peer Transmission Alliance” in order to “provide users with an unparalleled file transfer experience.” The new file transfer system doesn’t have a name yet, but it will also use Bluetooth for pairing and WiFi P2P (peer-to-peer) for the data transfer.

Despite relying on WiFi, the system won’t disconnect users from their WiFi networks and can be used simultaneously without interfering with other activities. The new system promises an average transfer speed of 20MB/s with maximum speeds potentially much higher depending on the devices involved.

The three manufacturers are selling hundreds of millions of devices each year which will make a compelling case for other brands to join the alliance. Oppo owns the Realme and OnePlus brands, so we’ll likely see the new system on their new devices as well, while Xiaomi will surely add it to its Redmi phones. If Huawei and Samsung are convinced to join (less likely due to their large market shares) the system will encompass a very large percentage of Android devices and the remaining manufacturers will be smart to follow.

Hopefully, what we’re seeing today is the laying of the foundation for an Android-wide file transfer system suitable for the needs of consumers today and in the future. The first smartphones with the new system will be available in February this year, according to the press release, with more to follow as the companies bring new phones to the market.

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