Nokia pioneered transfers by NFC, but Google is removing this feature (Android Beam)

Hi all,I learnt that Google is removing the Android Beam feature in the next version of Android.

Nokia pioneered transfers by NFC, but Google is removing this feature (Android Beam)

madbilly madbilly
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Hi all,
I learnt that Google is removing the Android Beam feature in the next version of Android. This feature is basically the ability to transfer information to others using NFC, e.g. contacts, links, etc. NFC services like this were pioneered and popularised by Nokia back in the day, but now Google is removing this feature from the next version of Android.
It's going to be sad to see something which was so iconic for Nokia phones removed, will there be a chance that HMD can still include this feature somehow when phones are updated to the next version of Android?
Cheers :)

Comments

  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
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    I never used NFC till last month when I thought of sending the photos taken on my friend's oneplus to my 7 plus. As Bluetooth takes time and we both didn't have shareit installed I thought of using NFC. And that was the most frustrating thing I ever did. You need to touch the back of both devices. Now, how do I operate the device at the bottom, It was too difficult and frustrating. Maybe, I must be doing something wrong but it wasn't user-friendly at all. NFC is best for charging, payments and playing music on supported speakers. :)
  • singhnsk singhnsk
    ✭✭✭✭  /  edited August 13
    @madbilly I've used Android Beam for a few times, but really not daily use thing. Mostly because not everybody has an NFC compatible hardware. For file transfers, the beam is just easy Bluetooth pairing and transfer, right? Yes, it does make things easier, and I do use it sometimes to quickly share stuff over my own devices. All that I will miss is the fact that I could quickly share small data with others (generally my own devices) over beam (such as a URL from Firefox).

    @Kartik Gada NFC does not do anything beyond sending the files over Bluetooth so, you resorting to NFC because BT is slower is kinda fuzzy argument xD And once paired, you can take apart both devices and keep operating them. They need not be held together for the transfer to work.

    The key question however is - Why remove it? Let it be there and those who use it will use it. There's no reason to remove it since the hardware is there and all it takes is an app which weights a few MBs only. There's still no replacement to a a tap and share method. Maybe another new way to push  transfers using the "Files" app. Google has been taking some really crazy decisions recently.

    will there be a chance that HMD can still include this feature somehow when phones are updated to the next version of Android?
    A big NO. With their duty to Android One so serious, there's no doubt that HMD will be the first to join Google and say that this feature is redundant and no longer needed. I have stopped keeping hopes of features from HMD now. We will get what Google does, period. HMD follows Google decisions more faithfully than Nokia did Microsoft's. Nokia pushed Microsoft to do better. HMD supports Google in doing worser.
    "We, and our partner Google have decided that Android beam is not user friendly. Hence we have removed it starting with the Android Q release for Nokia 8.1, which will also be rolled out to other devices in the coming months. You can use the Files app for easy transfers." - Support reply, November 2019.
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
    ✭✭✭✭  /  edited August 13
    singhnsk said:

    @Kartik Gada NFC does not do anything beyond sending the files over Bluetooth so, you resorting to NFC because BT is slower is kinda fuzzy argument xD And once paired, you can take apart both devices and keep operating them. They need not be held together for the transfer to work.
    Ok, so I was doing it wrong. 😆
    Yes, they shouldn't care about removing a feature for no reason. Why remove it when the tech supports it. This is like Apple 😅
  • madbilly madbilly
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    The current state of "tech" is to refine a feature until it's at it's best then drop it. If you look around you can see this everywhere. I can't work out if this is the devs or sysops getting bored or if it's because the marketers say "this is old, kill it". It really started with Google Reader being dropped and went downhill from there.

    I think Android Beam is not exactly like Nokia's implementations of sharing by NFC were, but it's quite close. There are two main ways to use it:
    1. Share data using only NFC. This is only useful for small amounts of information like URLs, contact cards, things like that.
    2. NFC/Bluetooth hybrid. This was what Nokia really did so well, it was part of their tap to pair tech. NFC is used to initiate the bluetooth connection by pairing the devices and then the transfer happens over bluetooth. I think there are variants that work over Wifi Direct as well.

    Even though Android Beam will be removed I presume there will still be apps that can do the same thing.
    Cheers :)
  • Muser Muser
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    Unfortunately it seems Android is becoming more and more restricted with each release, I assume the goal is to promote Google services over common/open standards, like with the Miracast removal.

    As long as HMD continues with Android One, I guess we'll have a front row seat. =/
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Hi @Muser yes that's the path that Google are taking with Android, it's not good. However there is some hope because Miracast came back in Android 9! :D
  • user389 user389
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    singhnsk said:
    [ . . . ]
    The key question however is - Why remove it? Let it be there and those who use it will use it. There's no reason to remove it since the hardware is there and all it takes is an app which weights a few MBs only.
    [ . . . ]
    Security, integrity, robustness, just for starters ;-)
    The legacy standards for NFC pairing and Bluetooth transfers rely on trust between users and their devices doing what they are supposed to do.
    It was always unsafe.
    --
    Hans
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Hi @user389, you mean because you can pair and/or transfer without needing authorisation like you do with standard bluetooth pairing? I suppose that is a risk, but I thought that NFC tap followed by bluetooth transfer still needed agreement from the receiving device?
    Cheers :)
  • user389 user389
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    There's a stub on wikipedia with links to more nerdy info:
    One approach to improving information security is to reduce the attack surface of a system or software. The basic strategies of attack surface reduction include the following: reduce the amount of code running, reduce entry points available to untrusted users, and eliminate services requested by relatively few users. [ . . . ]
    It's no secret that Google is moving Android into a walled garden to meet the demands from serious business app developers and users.
    (And the hackers and crackers is always a step ahead).
    --
    Hans
  • madbilly madbilly
    ✭✭✭✭  / 
    Well, yes, okay, reducing features does reduce the attack surface... but that kind of logic ends up with us not having any features.
    When I posted I was really thinking about why such a useful feature would be removed, and how ironic it is that HMD is so in-bed with Google and it's Google that's removing a feature which Nokia pioneered. Sure, there are reasons that Google want to remove it, but it doesn't mean I need to agree ;)
    Anyway, thanks for the balanced viewpoint, much appreciated :)
  • saadain saadain
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    <blockquote class="Quote">
    <div class="QuoteAuthor"><a href="/profile/Kartik%20Gada">Kartik Gada</a> said:</div>
    <div class="QuoteText">I never used NFC till last month when I thought of sending the photos taken on my friend's oneplus to my 7 plus. As Bluetooth takes time and we both didn't have shareit installed I thought of using NFC. And that was the most frustrating thing I ever did. You need to touch the back of both devices. Now, how do I operate the device at the bottom, It was too difficult and frustrating. Maybe, I must be doing something wrong but it wasn't user-friendly at all. NFC is best for charging, payments and playing music lon supported speakers. :)</div>
    </blockquote>
    C mon Nokia leave android and revive SYMBIAN no android no iOS revive SYMBIAN Xpress music Symbian forever in all your phone's let go of that crappy java based camera operating system and make your identity revive with Symbian Belle write again with revived c and c++ and the debs will come after you and please don't clutter with ads
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