The developers that brought us Pushbullet have announced a brand new app. Portal is designed to do one thing and one thing only: move files between your computer and your Android device. While this is possible with Pushbullet, it isn't a strong point and requires sending those files to their servers and back. Portal sends them within your local wireless network, avoiding potentially costly data fees and making possible far faster transfer times.
To be clear, the developers haven't really invented anything here. Sharing files over your local wireless network is as old as, well, wireless networks. The innovation here is making it so simple that you don't have to have a clue how it works. You just drag a file into your browser and it shows up on your phone like magic.
From the get-go, Portal works on the desktop side of things from any place you have access to a browser. You simply head to portal.pushbullet.com and scan the QR code you find there with the Android app.
This initiates the connection. The browser side will change from the generic webpage to a screen asking you to drop your files in.
I'd like to note that the GIF above is not in real time. In fact, the transfer happened much faster than that. So fast that I didn't see the progress animation until I watched the screen recording frame-by-frame. From there, the files will appear on your device almost instantly.
The developers say they have tested Portal to ensure its stability with transfers of hundreds of files as well as individual transfers over 1GB in size, things you wouldn't really ever want to do with Pushbullet. Once the transfer is complete, you can either browse/view/share the files within the app or find them in the Portal folder in the device explorer of your choosing. Portal includes integration with the built-in file browser.
So when do you want Portal? When you and your phone/tablet are in the same place and connected to the same Wi-Fi network and you want to share any number of files between them. I know I often use Dropbox for this purpose or I put larger files on a network attached storage device and download them to my phone via Solid Explorer. When you aren't using the same wireless network, something like Pushbullet might work best for simple transfers.
I know that I often will grab an APK from APK Mirror on my laptop and then comes the decision about how to get it on my phone. Portal is perfect for this situation. Another one that some of you adventurous folk might like is moving a custom ROM from the PC to the device you plan to install it on.
For those running Lollipop, you can tell Portal to automatically download everything to an external SD card, which makes for excellent use of that storage space.
Portal is live in the Play Store now, so you can grab it right away. As an initial release, we likely haven't seen the last of the major milestones for the app. And, the developers would like to note, you have much to look forward to when it comes to Pushbullet as well.