Android Beam: “Te-ki-nor-logy”

The rate at which technology is growing in this century and years to come is really amazing. A quick review on the Android Beam (if you using any other Android OS other than the Ice Cream Sandwich, you will not find this feature on your mobile device) shows that the developers will stop at nothing.

As a refresher, Android Beam uses NFC (near-field communication), a radio frequency technology, to pass certain types of information from one phone to a compatible phone (for starters, both phones need NFC.) Assuming both phones’ screens are on, NFC is enabled on both phones, and Android Beam is activated, which it is by default, you can simply press the backs of the two phones together to trigger a beam.

As a security precaution, you’ll be prompted to confirm with a tap that you actually do intend to beam that YouTube video, Web page, contact detail, map, or app or game link. A cheerful chime confirms the beam, and the second phone will call up the contents “tagged” in your phone. You’re not actually transporting particles from one phone to the next, but you are using NFC to quickly send a set of specific instructions.

So will Beam only work with Ice Cream Sandwich phones? Since this is a new feature, you can only originate beams from the NFC-capable Android phone, but Gingerbread-running NFC phones like the Samsung Nexus S can receive them–with one extra step.

Two mobile journalist Blake Stimac and Jessica Dolcourt decided to see if they could beam to each other at the same instant.
The first two times, trigger-finger Blake outbeamed Jessica pressing to beam his map to her Galaxy Nexus before she could beam over her Web link.
On the third try (the completely unscripted take that made it into this video), they managed the perfect simultaneous beam that swapped the content on our phones.

Beyond the novelty of watching stuff “beam” back and forth, Android Beam has a lot of potential to become a second-nature way to very quickly share information.

Instead of a friend to tell you which game s/he’s playing or video s/he’s watching when you look over her/his shoulder, and typing it or using voice actions to find it, you can simply beam it, and go from there.

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