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Samsung “patches” sharing, is this we were waiting for?

Samsung released the “ATIV Beam” app.

tap and share with nfc
This article is about sharing data; NFC technology enhancing the user experience of applications that use the Bluetooth technology. Device to device, NOT about stickers or payments.
NFC selects (simplifies the discovery process) and securely connects (simplifies the process of authenticated pairing) to a Bluetooth device. The pairing is much easier and faster.
Data transfer with nfc is very slow. Therefore it doesn’t substitute bluetooth, it’s added for more convenience.
File sharing is only initiated via NFC, then the devices handover the connection to Bluetooth to transfer the data.

some theory

In 2011, the NFC-Forum released an application document for implementation of “Bluetooth Secure Simple Pairing (SSP) using NFC”. The SSP related data exchange is specified by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).
It is recommended that all NFC Forum members and Bluetooth SIG members refer to this application document when implementing Bluetooth SSP using NFC. Developers and manufacturers are not obliged to apply NFC-Forum protocol specifications.
My conclusion; If all involved would cooperate, nfc pairing and sharing should always function between 2 nfc devices.

current practice

Sharing using nfc is problematic. The documents from the Bluetooth SIG and NFC-Forum are not enough. Incompatible implementations because of deficient technical specifications or.. own interests?
With 2 devices, the same brand, same O.S. and same nfc app, you can share (almost) everything.
Unfortunately, cross-platform use is often a No-Go. Due to incompatible technology, because of wrong settings or user errors? Sharing an URL or contact data (small data) is less problematic, the transfer is done without connection handover to bluetooth.
Nobody seems to cooperate to make it better. Manufacturers use different names for their sharing apps and create incompatible proprietary applications (Samsung’s S-Beam).

More and more people are asking why their handset doesn’t share with a friend’s phone. It’s hard to say what works and what doesn’t.
The available user feedback Is very few and fragmented, always leaves one or more variables open;
– Settings were properly set? NFC, Bluetooth, Beam, S-Beam. …?
– User taps at exact antenna positions?
– Screens were on?
– What was attempted to share? a contact info or a video?
A big test with many different devices, I haven’t found yet. Unfortunately I don’t have the resources to do such test.
A BlackBerry 7 and 10, several brands Windows phones and all kind of (many) android phones in a nice overview. That would show every P.I.T.A.

ATIV Beam

“This app is for NFC enabled Windows phones. You can share pictures, documents, music, and videos by tapping to an NFC-capable android device”. A handy app for owners of an ATIV S or Odyssey phone.
To use, download this app and enable Bluetooth and NFC sharing, check tap+send in the settings.
The text in app says “compatible with all android devices and Samsung Windows phone devices“.
More pics in windows store.Samsung windows ATIV Beam app for android
But .. this is 1 manufacturer improving 1 platform.
How about;
– HTC 8X and Nokia Lumia phones vs Android? They don’t benefit, correct me if i’m wrong.
– The opposite direction, Android to Windows?
– Windows vs BlackBerry, does it work (on the ATIV S with this app)? Which app to use? I read about problems between BB10 vs Lumia devices.
– Android vs BlackBerry 7 phones, I only saw failing (in videos).
– The rest
Several manufacturer dependent nfc apps, just for sharing, is that the way to go?
Microsoft fixing that tap+send app or Google fixing the Android Beam app,  seems much more logical to me. I see something wrong? What do YOU think?

 

epilogue

Samsung, thanks for caring about your windows phone users, I mean it.
But.. we need to pinpoint ALL problems, and identify the culprit provide solutions for all (Let’s keep it friendly 😉 ).  The technique should just always function without exceptions.
Fixing this is a win-win situation for all involved. Positive user experiences, isn’t this what nfc needs?

Feedback and opinions are very welcome.

About the author

Joao Rostli

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