At I/O 2022, Google detailed how Android apps can create Nearby Share-like interactions between devices, and a developer preview SDK is now available.
The Cross device SDK “allows developers to create rich multi-device experiences with a simple and intuitive set of APIs.” Google takes care of device discovery, authentication, and connection protocols (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and UWB) so that app developers can simply focus on “delightful user experience and bringing that experience together across multiple form factors and platforms.” The SDK offers three main features:
- Device discovery: Easily find nearby devices, authorize peer-to-peer communication, and start the target application on receiving devices.
- Secure connections: Enable encrypted, low-latency bi-directional data sharing between authorized devices.
- Multi-device Sessions: Enable transferring or extending an application’s user experience across multiple devices.
This means apps can now offer features such as:
- Discovering and authorizing communication with nearby devices.
- Sharing an app’s current state with the same app on another device.
- Starting the app on a secondary device without having to keep the app running in background.
- Establishing secure connections for devices to communicate with each other.
- Enabling task handoff where the user starts a task on one device, and can easily continue on another device.
In the long term, the Google Cross device SDK will work with apps for Android phones, tablets, TVs, Auto, Wear OS, ChromeOS, iOS, and Windows, with the company also open to other platforms. It is also backwards compatible with Android 8.
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