Google launches new tools to make Android apps work on all devices

Google wants to increase the ability of Android phones to communicate with the devices around them.

In a recent company blog post, Google detailed the “Multi-Device SDK” for Android (SDK stands for Software Development Kit). It contains tools that can help developers build apps that support cross-device functionality. It looks like the SDK is targeting Android-to-Android functionality first (which might be useful for people with an Android smartphone and tablet or a bunch of Android phones), with the goal of expanding to phones, tablets, televisions, cars, etc. and more.

The three main features of the SDK are now discovering nearby devices, establishing secure connections between devices, and hosting an app’s experience across multiple devices. Additionally, the SDK can take advantage of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ultra-wideband (UWB) connectivity to deliver multi-device experiences.

An example of a multi-device SDK powering a group meal order | Image credit: Google

Some of the examples of Google’s cross-device functionality in action really put the SDK’s promise into perspective. For example, Google describes using cross-device capability to allow multiple people to choose items from a menu when ordering food, without needing to hover your phone across the room. Alternatively, users can pick up reading an article where they left off on another device, much like Apple’s Handoff feature. Google even offers to use multi-device capability to share map locations with a vehicle’s navigation system.

As The edge points out, this all sounds like a massive expansion of Android’s Nearby Sharing system, AirDrop functionality, only slightly worse. This could make Nearby Sharing a much more useful feature, especially if Google manages to bring cross-device functionality to iOS as planned. Google says it wants to extend cross-device capabilities to iOS and Windows, but didn’t provide any details on when that would happen.

Naturally, the SDK is still in its early stages, but it certainly looks promising. It will be interesting to see what Google and app developers do with the SDK. Hopefully something good will come out of this, and this isn’t another dead-on-arrival feature that only works on Google’s Android devices.

Source: Google Via: The Verge

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