Android Beam has been around since 4.0, but the NFC sharing tool has always been a little awkward (I think I've used it successfully twice in three years), since it relies on both phones physically detecting each other in proximity before you can even initiate the sending process. In the preview versions of the "L" release, Beam finally gets its own dedicated option in the standard Android Share menu, which should make it much less ambiguous.


Basically, tapping Beam in the Share menu will initiate the swooshy Beam animation, even if there's no corresponding Android device with NFC to send things to yet. By calling on the standard android.nfc.NfcAdapter.invokeBeam() API, it negates the need to tap the screen once you're in proximity - the file or contact or website or what have you is simply sent to the other device once it's in range.

The opposite user will still need both NFC and Android Beam enabled in their settings menu, and the old method of a simple tap should still work. But manually triggering the share function should eliminate some of the uncertainty around the admittedly clunky "touch and tap" method. It should also more distinctly establish the to>from relationship of the share, cutting down on a bit of confusion.

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.

  • Egnimatic_Foolishness

    It's about damn time that Google showed some attention to this. I use Superbeam myself, but I must admit that Samsung's implementation is superior to Android beam. I wish they would get this together and make it more universal.

    • Paul_Werner

      Also great for file managers that don't have NFC as a sharing option (looking at you Total Commander... even though I still love you, haha)

  • yihtang

    androidpolice needs to stop posting these feature highlights to make N4 owners jealous... /jk

    • http://communityfirstdigital.co.uk/ Luke Arran

      ....and Nexus 7 (2012) owners!

      • Paul_Werner

        If I didn't have my N5 I'd be dying thinking my N7 2012 wasn't going to be updated officially

    • Arch9

      don't forget non nexus phone user

      • Lisandro O Oocks

        Those suckers knew what they were getting.

  • Pumin

    All theses features look so awesome, do you guys believe Android 5.0 will be available for the N4? I won't be able to upgrade to a newer device for a long time.

    • SomeGuy112

      If not officially, someone will port it.. Devs are working on porting the "L" preview over to the N4 as we speak

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

    Tapping two phones together isn't awkward.

    Trying to press the damn screen when you're steadily holding your phone close to another yet without actually touching the other phone because that may scratch your device and having to use your entire hand to hold the phone while you still need to use either your pinky or index finger to tap the display, THAT was awkward.

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      Do your friends glue sandpaper and razor blades to the backs of their phones? Do you never put your phone down on a desk?

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

        I actually try to put my phone down on a soft coaster whenever possible. There's always one on my desk empty, waiting for my phone to be gently placed on top. Call me overprotective, but I prefer to keep the glass back of my Xperia Z1 as little scratched as possible (oh and I dislike any kind of case, too).

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          Isn't it Gorilla Glass 2 or 3? I had a Nexus 4, without a case, which I regularly set down on normal surfaces. No scratches. I feel like that level of effort to avoid them is just beyond usable range. It leads to things like what you mentioned, where you're afraid to even tap someone's phone.

          Although that's also an element of why I found the idea of building a phone almost entirely out of glass to be a bit absurd.

          • caveman

            exactly, i still think some silicon is needed when building a phone.

  • Wolph Ramírez

    in 2014 with flat colors, icons and UI's a Android Beam icon with gradients..? mmmm

  • SVem26

    Why isn't anyone talking abt this blatantly obvious 4:3 android tablet?? Volantis man..

    • SVem26


    • Sir Thinks A Lot

      Better to talk about things that were actually announced, methinks.

      • Marla William

        I've&nbspΜ­­­­­а­­­­­d­­­­­℮&nbsp$­­­­64,000&nbspso&nbspfar&nbspthis&nbspyear &nbspW­­­­­­օ­­­­­­r­­­­­­κing&nbspfrom&nbspthe&nbspі­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­r­­­­­­ո­­­­­­℮­­­­­­τ&nbspand&nbspI'm&nbspa&nbspfull&nbsptime &nbspstudent.&nbspIm&nbspusing&nbspan &nbspօ­­­­­ո­­­­­l­­­­­i­­­­­ո­­­­­℮&nbspbusiness&nbspopportunity&nbspI &nbspheard&nbspabout&nbspand&nbspI've &nbspgot&nbspр­­­­­а­­­­­i­­­­­d&nbspsuch&nbspgreat&nbspΜ­­­­­օ­­­­­ո­­­­­℮­­­­­У.&nbspIt's&nbspactually&nbspuser&nbspfriendly &nbspand&nbspI'm&nbspjust&nbspso&nbsphappy &nbspthat&nbspI&nbspfound&nbspout&nbspabout &nbspit.&nbspհ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­r­­­­­­℮s&nbspwhat&nbspI&nbspdo,..&nbsphttp://CashConvertmark&#x32&#48&#x31&#52partP51K8SfY...

        ▲▲▲� ▲▲▲ ▲▲▲ ▲▲▲� ▲▲▲

  • dward2828

    Forget these other features - it's bedtime here in the UK and I've just found the 'Do Not Disturb' settings! Finally!

  • WORPspeed

    touch and tap < tap and touch!

  • rmkilc

    Time to hibernate. Wake me up in the fall.

  • Simon Belmont

    Interesting. Did they let Android Beam use Wi-Fi Direct yet?

    Android Beam is cool, but BT speeds are fairly slow. Wi-Fi Direct would be awesome for beaming files (I use Super Beam with it all the time).

    • jb

      I think this is why they put it in the share menu (I hope)...but it can't just be an L feature...it has to tie in play services to allow other devices to use it as well.

    • Grahaman27

      love super beam, it makes me scoff at BT its just so slow in comparison.

  • TedPhillips

    beam always worked for me.

  • JG

    What happens if I want to share something, but have NFC turned off on my phone? Will tapping the Beam button turn it on for me? turn it back off after?

  • Sanjay Negi