Last month we reported that Samsung was working on its own AirDrop killer for Galaxy devices, called Quick Share. On Tuesday, the Korean company unveiled its new trio of Galaxy S20 phones, and we finally got a better idea of what the local file-sharing feature can do.
On the face of it, Quick Share works just like Apple's AirDrop, in that if you're near another user with a supported device, they will show up on your screen and you can share a picture, video, or file with them. Similarly, Galaxy users can also choose to receive files from anyone or only people in their contacts.
However, Quick Share has an added feature that AirDrop lacks – it allows you to share files with up to five people simultaneously. With AirDrop, you can only send to one recipient at a time.
It'll be interesting to see if Apple develops AirDrop further in response to Samsung's Quick Share feature, given that we already know Apple is continually looking to improve its ad-hoc file sharing service. The most recent addition to AirDrop's capabilities is "directional AirDrop," which allows users to point an iPhone 11 at another iPhone user to instantly share files with them.
The feature was made possible by the U1 Wideband chip included in iPhone 11 devices that allows the distance between two Ultra Wideband devices to be measured precisely by calculating the time that it takes for a radio wave to pass between the two devices.
Apple says that the directional AirDrop feature is "just the beginning" of what is possible with Ultra Wideband, and says that "amazing new capabilities" are coming later.
The first Android smartphones with Ultra Wideband technology are expected to be released starting later in 2020. Meanwhile, Google is also working on its own AirDrop-like feature called Nearby Sharing for Pixel phones.
In addition, China's big three mobile vendors are working collectively on an AirDrop-style peer-to-peer transfer protocol that is expected to launch this month. All of which suggests the development of new close-proximity file-sharing features could well hot up between the big players in the coming years.
Android used to have an NFC-based AirDrop equivalent called Android Beam, but it was discontinued with Android 10. Users have had to resort to third-party alternatives like Google's Files Go app since.
Quick Share is currently only available for the new Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra 5G, but Samsung says support for other devices is coming soon.