Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo have announced that they're joining forces to create a new file transfer solution that will work seamlessly across devices made by each of them. The peer-to-peer protocol will be able to transfer files at a speed of up to 20MB/s, likely using Bluetooth for pairing and then WiFi for transfer.

As reported by The Verge, Xiaomi outlined the news in a WeChat post on its official MIUI account. Although the three Chinese OEMs are collaborating on the technology, the door is open for other manufacturers to jump on board and be part of the alliance. It's natural to draw comparisons with Apple's AirDrop file transfer feature, but Google's Files app also has similar functionality while Android Q will ship with a new Fast Share feature, replacing the outgoing Android Beam. Xiaomi already has the ShareMe, so it's unclear how this new venture will differ.

Fast Share will be tied to Google Play Services, so Chinese manufacturers will need their own protocol for use in the phones they ship in China — although they still run a version of Android, it comes without Google Play and other apps and services from the US tech giant. We can expect a beta version of the new solution to be launched around the end of this month, although it might not be something that ever comes to Western handsets.

Now available on select devices from Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo

Back in the summer, three Chinese OEMs announced the formation of the Peer-to-Peer Transmission Alliance and were working on a cross-brand file sharing solution, something Google hasn't adequately provided as part of AOSP. The new feature is now available on some phones from Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo.

Rather than a separate new app, the transfer experience is built into the native functionality of each company's Android skin. Xiaomi phones running MIUI 11 (Android 9 Pie or later) already have access to the feature via Mi Share. Oppo phones such as the Reno 2, Reno 10X Zoom, and F11 Pro on the trial version of ColorOS 7 (Android 10) can access the technology via Oppo Share. Finally, Vivo says the feature will roll out on new products from February 2020, but made no mention of existing smartphones.

The new sharing protocol uses Bluetooth to pair and then WiFi P2P to transfer files at a rate of around 20MB/s, with no need for an internet connection. The three Chinese brands have also called for other device makers to join the alliance with a view to bringing the capability to more users and participating in the future of the ecosystem.