Is Google Ending Android Beam?

Google might have just signaled the end of Android Beam. Android Beam is an NFC feature that allows smartphone users to transfer small files by tapping two phones together. Recent development plans from Google indicate that the Android Beam API is being deprecated and Android Beam will be disabled by default starting with Android Q. 

There has been no public announcement from Google, but developers have seen similar behavior when Google begins to phase out a particular feature. Android Beam, and NFC in general, has not been a widely adopted feature, but there are some use cases for it. However, the use cases are limited, and Android includes many options for sharing files that are not limited by the size requirements that bind Android Beam's usefulness.

For now, we know that the Android Beam APIs will be deprecated. Additionally, there is a feature flag to gate the APIs. As far as support goes, the feature will be turned off by default in Android Q. What this means is that manufacturers and then users would need to affirmatively turn on the feature in Android Q to activate Beam's NFC features. Stay tuned for future updates. 

Be sure to read the next File Sharing article: Daily API RoundUp: Codeq, Totle, Filestack, TypeTravel


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