Apple’s AirDrop, a key tool for Hong Kong protestors, is coming to Android
Chinese smartphone rivals Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo team up to introduce peer-to-peer wireless file transfers
Since Apple introduced AirDrop in 2011, it’s become a key tool for iPhone users to send files of any size to each other without using an internet connection or cell service. Now it looks like three Chinese phone makers are bringing that to Android users as well.
According to Xiaomi’s blog post, their new feature relies partly on Bluetooth and can achieve a transfer rate of 20MB per second. Similarly, Apple’s AirDrop uses Bluetooth to sense other Apple devices nearby and uses Wi-Fi to establish an encrypted connection between them. And just like AirDrop, Xiaomi indicates that the feature will support various file types, including images, music and videos.
The feature will be open for beta testing later this month, but it won’t be the first time that Android users have an AirDrop-style service. The same year that Apple launched AirDrop, Google also introduced Android Beam with Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich). Unlike AirDrop, though, Beam is based on NFC and requires users to hold their phones next to each other to establish a connection.
The collaboration between Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo is a rare tie-up among Chinese smartphone competitors, though it’s easy to understand why Xiaomi might want to team up with rivals in this case.
Notably, the current partnership doesn’t include Huawei, the country’s dominant industry leader. Xiaomi, though, has said it looks forward to collaborating with more partners, which leaves open the possibility for more brands to include the new feature in the future.
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