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Motorola's Droid Zap, an exclusive feature for Verizon's 2013 DROID line, always seemed a bit on the limited side. Maybe that's because only those three DROID phones could actually use the service - other phones could receive photos from nearby users with the Zap app, but only the DROID Ultra, DROID Mini, and DROID Maxx could send them. Today Moto has seen the light and made both sending and receiving photos possible for any phone.

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If you've never used Zap, it goes something like this: open the Zap app and you're given a list of your local photos. Tap and drag up with two fingers, and your phone creates a "virtual sharing zone" around your GPS location. Anyone with the Droid Zap app installed who's inside that area will be alerted, and can download the photo to their device. Users can add a PIN to the download for a little extra security.

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So if this is now a universal local sharing app, why is it still labeled "Droid?" Well according to the app description, non-Droid phones (including Motorola's own Moto X and Moto G) don't get access to the ability to share files, just photos. There's also a new DROID-exclusive feature: Zap Zone. Basically you invite your friends to a time-limited event, and any photos you take with your phone will be automatically synced to theirs. So it's exactly as useful as a Facebook album or a shared Dropbox folder, but it's... faster? And you need at least one of the 2013 Verizon DROID phones to do it.

Or, you know, you just email them.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Matthew Merrick

    Seems like a solution looking for a problem. NFC works just fine and doesn't murder my data plan.

    • AnonGuy

      Or maybe they're at the other end of the stadium and you can't tap phone? Not everyone wants to use Google+ or Facebook events just to share files. Android Beam is bad. This is similar to AirDrop, and Android needs something like this as a platform.

      Hi, Samsung, you there?

      You also forgot how non Samsung phones use Bluetooth for file transfer, which is laughably slow compared to WiFi Direct or a good 3G or LTE connection. Why Google hasn't made St Beam a baseline feature boggles my mind. I guess they want to push their Web services instead (Photos, Drive, etc.).

  • http://404err0r.com/ Henry Park

    I still prefer emailing it everyone understand how that works.... I tried to use Beam and my friend was uber confused

  • JanderPanell

    HA! What a joke! I go to the play store to check compatibility. This app will work with all of my Samsung devices. But you know what it won't work with? Yup! My original Motorola DROID from 4 years ago that has 2.2.3. So, the claim that it works with Android 2.1 or later .... utterly FALSE!

    • joser116

      Just because it says it works with Android 2.1 or later does not mean it is going to work with EVERY phone that has Android 2.1 or later.

      • JanderPanell

        The article was changed after I posted and without notation. The first paragraph originally ended with "... possible for any phone running Android 2.1 or above."

        Of course, now that I think of it, by removing the restriction and saying "any phone" Android Police have made it worse. *facepalm*

    • Crafty

      Yeah! I'm mad that I can't use my telegraph anymore!

      How can things like that go obsolete? It's like companies are trying to get me to buy new things /s!

      • JanderPanell

        As I just responded to Stacey Liu, I do not expect perpetual support for older equipment. However, when something is reported as compatible for my equipment, I do expect it to be compatible.

        Wouldn't you?

        • Simon Belmont

          I think certain phones or devices can be left out of the party even if they have the proper version. My Nexus 5 was recently removed from capability for the T-Mobile Visual Voicemail app (even though it works fine).

          It could just be a matter of the developer not including it or filtering it out due to some other specification not meeting the criteria, like screen resolution, for example. Another example would be my B&N Nook Color not being compatible with a game my wife likes, but I sideloaded the apk from another device that I had, onto it, and it worked fine.

          • JanderPanell

            I can agree with that. And that's the beauty of Android systems: trying things out that people tell you 'NO!' I had a few apps that didn't work on my Galaxy NEXUS that did work on my older DROID specifically because of screen resolution.

            The specific issue here that I'm getting raked over the coals for appears (now!) to be with how Android Police chose to report for this app, instead of Motorola as I targeted in my rant. There were many different ways which the article could have been written in the first place, or corrected after the fact. The way they "corrected" the story by removing the minimum OS requirements actually makes the situation worse! Now AP says "any phone" can use it, when that is demonstrably FALSE, too.

            If it requires a minimum OS, say that.

            If you THINK it should work, but you haven't tested it, say that.

            If there are known failures, say 'check your device'.

            But, If you say something works with everything, then it should work with everything. Don't be surprised if someone calls you on it.

    • Stacey Liu

      You do realize that Apple has better support for older equipment than most other companies right? iOS devices get software support far longer than even Nexus devices, and Macs are fully supported 5+ years into their lives. I can install Mavericks on a 2007 iMac or 2008 MacBook today and have everything work as it should.

      Technically I can install Windows 8.1 on a random 2008 laptop too, but there's no guarantee that the makers of individual hardware components have updated their drivers.

      And besides that, there should be an exception in this case. The less developers support pre-4.0 devices, the better. Gingerbread/Froyo hugely limit what we can do with apps (or not, but it takes more work than it's worth to rework apps for older, deprecated APIs). Where does it even say that it works with Android 2.1+?

      • JanderPanell

        My grudge against Apple goes back a long way; when their computers were called "MacIntosh" and it didn't even have color or a hard drive. I don't expect anyone here to care why either, which is fine.

        As for the article, it was edited after I posted. First paragraph originally ended as "... possible for any phone running Android 2.1 or above."

        I don't expect perpetual support for older equipment, but I also despise built-in obsolescence. I also expect what's reported to be true and accurate. The report was this app would work on hardware with these 4 salient points:
        1. Verizon
        2. Motorola
        3. DROID
        4. Android 2.1+ (in the original version of the article)

        Point for point, that is the equipment I own (though not used as a phone now) and the app reports as not compatible in the Play Store, contrary to what was in the original article.

        Misleading information pisses me off. I de-lurked to express that. Unfortunately, after I posted, Android Police altered the article without notation. But that is a rant for another day.

    • Lucky Armpit

      You're the reason the Gingerbread numbers never go down. Please throw out that phone. Thank you.

      • JanderPanell


        It works perfectly fine as
        - an mp3 player
        - Book text-to-voice reader when driving (using Cool Reader's Read Aloud function)
        - dash cam
        - GPS tracker

        I don't throw away equipment that still works even if it's not used as a phone. If I wanted to spend hundreds of dollars every few months on bleeding edge technology only to abandon perfectly decent hardware all in the name of "IT'S NEW!", I'd still be buying Apple!

        FWIW, My phone is a Samsung Galaxy NEXUS from 2 years ago, but I will be getting a Galaxy S4 in the next day or so WITHOUT throwing away the NEXUS. Who knows, you may get your wish if I decide use my NEXUS as my mp3 player. I'll stop using the DROID, but I won't throw it away.

        • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

          You should get a Moto X. It's much nicer than the S4 imo.

  • Pdiddy187

    Verizon... an old person's nightmare.

  • ddh819

    finally, just in time for the super bowl

    • Aki I.

      I was thinking an app like this actually would be great for a situation like the super bowl where people can share pictures from different perspectives so even people with bad seats can have some good pictures.

      • ddh819

        i agree with you, which is why i thought it was dumb that they didn't release the new version in time to take advantage of the super bowl hype

  • Say

    Not compatible with Moto G.
    Yup. :D