Since the time iPhone started selling back in 2007, it has always had scores of fans swarming at Apple stores to get their device. However, the lack of one vital feature always left Apple freaks befuddled when justifying their favorite gadget before critics and naysayers. And that is Bluetooth – the now generic name everyone uses to refer to the wireless connectivity between mobile devices that are in a close range to transfer media files. Apple had to give in to the popular demand for a wireless file sharing utility and introduced the AirDrop service in the year 2011 in the iOS7 version on its iPhone 4s device.
Almost three years after Android forayed into the smartphone market with the HTC Dream in 2008 with Bluetooth support, it decided to bring its own automatic wireless connectivity protocol on its devices beginning with Android Jelly Bean 4.1 version released in 2012. Called Android Beam, it let us activate the Bluetooth on a nearby device using the help of NFC in our phone and send forth the content to be shared. Samsung had its eye on this technology and created its own version, S-Beam which used WiFi-Direct in place of the slower Bluetooth used by Android Beam.
Not stopping there, Android aimed higher and identifying the potential of Bump, acquired it in September 2013. Word is that Google is now reviving Bump to develop a cross-platform wireless file sharing tool under the name Copresence.
Leaked by a snitch at Android Police, Google’s Copresence is a new service that will enable owners of Android devices to send and receive files from nearby iOS devices. How is Copresence different from Android Beam? Well, the former does not require that the other device be authenticated with the user’s contact list as in the case of Beam. Instead, it will use GPS information or the help of Bluetooth to authenticate. File transfer will then be via WiFi or WiFi Direct enabling the exchange of media files, maps, webpage links, namecards and more.
Aside form this basic connectivity, one can expect greater plans on the docket for Copresence, if Google’s history of high aspirations is anything to go by. Sources have it that Copresence will be closely affiliated with Google Hangouts. And since the company has acquired a patent for Copresence with wide applicability, people have also been speculating that it may be developed in to an Android API available to app developers.
Recently, Apple’s head of software, Craig Federighi launched the augmented AirDrop feature with Bluetooth 4.0 LE that supports interconnectivity among Mac, iPhone and iPad, making the tongue-in-cheek remark, “there’s no need to wander around the room bumping your phone” in mockery of Android’s connectivity mechanisms. Though Copresence doesn’t have the Bluetooth 4.0 LE advantage unlike Apple’s AirDrop, it can certainly hope to use its cross-system connectivity to capture the interest of app developers who need this functionality for their apps on Android platform.