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Thursday, 20 October 2011 12:00

Android 4.0 Beam underwhelms

Written by Fuad Abazovic



Touch the phone in wireless age, really?


Earlier this week Google showed off its new Android Beam feature and if you haven't see it, you can check this official Ice Cream Sandwich announcement, here. If you don't have an hour you can skip to 53:00 and see Android Beam in action.

Then there is NFC, and Non Functional Creation is not what the abbreviation stands for. NFC is basically the way to securely pay for something in about 17 stores in the US that support the new technology. Give it a few years and it might become popular, but it's good to know that you have it. It is currently useful as much as a spare tire, it’s good to have one, but normally most of you won't change it in a lifetime. (You did. On my car… While I was busy making some rather blasphemous remarks. sub.ed.)

NFC gave the Android team the idea to come up with Beam. You need to spoon your phone of the back of the other phone and voila, it will send you a link on the page one reads, it will direct you to an application on market where you can download it.

It's a nice feature, but we don't like the touching part. In late 2011, almost 2012, phones should not be touching each other, it should be wireless, all nicely secured via e.g. WLAN or Bluetooth if it must. Touching phones is beyond me, but obviously NFC has a very short range and had to be like that. However, if it’s ok for Apple users to flirt with their phones, it should also be ok for Android users to let their phones spoon. Perhaps I am simply getting too old to understand these new “trends”.

Most Android 4.0 features are pretty cool and many will find a good use for Beam, but in Stark Trek beaming didn't involve any touching, it was wireless transport of human bodies or goods, and the emphasis is on wireless. We urge Google managers to do their homework and watch some Star Trek. It worked out well for Apple and their iPad.

Comments are always appreciated, regardless if you agree or disagree, but we just don't see NFC catching on over night.

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