BitTorrent has been the go-to distribution platform for file sharing long before Android even existed. The company based in San Francisco first published its app to Google's platform back in 2012, and has since improved and iterated on it. With Android 10's upcoming dark theme and the app's age starting to show, BitTorrent decided it was time for another redesign with version 6.0.8, released on Thursday. It has a dark mode, a bottom navigation bar, and looks and feels much more modern.
The µTorrent client on Android has hundreds of millions of downloads, but that's not surprising. People love downloading Linux ISOs, right? Starting today, there's a beta program for the µTorrent app, and it'll let you stream your "Linux ISOs" immediately instead of downloading them.
BitTorrent has been expanding its p2p services to add music and video streaming, file synchronization, and more. One of its newest efforts is BitTorrent Live, a special take on live TV streaming that focuses on live events, news, and sports, and uses a proprietary p2p live streaming protocol to avoid the latency of HTTP Live Streaming.
BitTorrent Live started as available on TVs (Apple TV, FireTV) and Macs in mid 2016, then was released on iTunes for iPhones and iPads in December of 2016, and it's now on the Play Store for Android devices. The channel selection is limited (you can see some of the launch channels here, more have been added since) but you'll find NASA TV, France 24, Newsmax, QVC, and more.
The name BitTorrent conjures up the specter of piracy, but BitTorrent the company has been working on a few legitimate ventures based on the same peer-to-peer technology that lets you download the latest Game of Thrones. The newly launched BitTorrent Now is a music and video streaming platform aimed mostly at independent artists you're probably not familiar with.
Your options for moving files on Android devices continue to get better. Earlier today Pushbullet unveiled Portal, an easy QR-based way to exchange files between your phone/tablet and PC using your local wireless network. A few hours later, BitTorrent Sync has released Shoot, a different QR-based way to move things from one mobile device to another.
Shoot is simple. You tap 'send' on your device, have the recipient scan the QR code that appears on your screen, and then watch as the transfer starts. The app works on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, so you should be able to send something to pretty much anyone you know with a smartphone.
BitTorrent brought an alpha version of its Bleep private messaging client to Android last year, and today it's officially launching on all major platforms including Android. Bleep doesn't require an account to sign up and all your messages are encrypted with local keys so no one else can access your data.
BitTorrent Sync is the cloud storage solution for people who don't like clouds, those who rather keep their files saved locally without giving up the convenience of accessing data from their desktops and mobile phones alike. Today's a big day for the service, the launch of version 2.0 and a pro tier worth $39.99 a year.
A pro account lets users maintain access to files on devices where the data isn't saved. Instead of downloading the full contents of a folder, you store placeholders that load on-demand (white folders in the image on the left below). This is especially useful for mobile users whose 32GB Android phones can't possibly handle all of the songs and videos stored on their 2TB NAS (speaking of which, Sync 2.0addsexpands support for network-attached storage devices, increasing the number of boxes the service can run on).
Android users have yet another option for data-only calls and text messages today, as BitTorrent Inc. posted an alpha version of its Bleep communication client to the Play Store. Bleep is designed to be an alternative to conventional calling and texting systems like Skype or WhatsApp, and requires no central server or service. Bleep has been invite-only since July, but now it's ready to go public. Clients are also available for Windows and OS X computers.
The core idea here is privacy: because Bleep makes a person-to-person connection with no middleman, there's no way for anyone to hack in via remote and get to all that sweet, sweet, personally-identifiable communication.
The world is rife with cloud storage providers who would be happy to hold on to your data so you can share it with others, but you have to give up a little control to keep your files on a server you don't own. BitTorrent's Sync service offers an alternative "cloud-free" solution, and the Android app has just been bumped to v1.4 with a number of new features.
This is what I like to see in an Android monetization model: options. The BitTorrent company released a full-function version of µTorrent (AKA uTorrent or MicroTorrent) a little more than a year ago. The beta app was free, but now there's a paid version that drops the beta tag in favor of a "Pro" label. The new app is $2.99 and includes all of the improvements made to the original app, with a little extra.
The description says that the Pro version of µTorrent is ad-free. I don't doubt that, but I also don't see any advertising in the free beta app.