Google opens the door to Android apps that work on all kinds of devices

Google is trying to make it easier for developers to create Android apps that somehow connect to a range of devices. In a blog post, Google explains that it is launching a new cross-device software development kit (SDK) that includes the tools developers need to make their apps play fun on Android devices, and ultimately non-Android phones, tablets, etc. TVs, cars, and more.

The SDK should let developers do three important things with their apps: discover nearby devices, establish secure connections between devices, and host an app’s experience across multiple devices. According to Google, the multi-device SDK uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ultra-wideband to deliver connectivity to multiple devices.

Google shows how the multi-device SDK can be used for group food orders on individual devices.
Image: Google

Google describes several use cases for its multi-device SDK on its documentation page, and it seems like it could come in handy in many scenarios. For example, it can let multiple users on separate devices choose items from a menu when making a group food order, so you don’t have to run your phone around the room. It can also allow you to pick up where you left off in an article when you switch from your phone to a tablet, or even allow the passengers in a car to share a specific map location with the sat nav. the vehicle.

It almost sounds like an extension of Near Share, which allows users on Android to transfer files to devices running Chrome OS and other Androids. In April, Esper’s Mishaal Rahman spotted an upcoming Near Share update that lets you quickly share files across the devices you’re signed into Google with. Google also said at a CES 2022 keynote that it will bring Near Share to Windows devices later this year.

The multi-device toolkit is currently in developer preview and will only work with Android phones and tablets for now. Google eventually plans to expand support to “other Android surfaces and non-Android operating systems,” including iOS and Windows, but there’s no word on when this will happen. Since the capability is still in its infancy, we probably can’t expect apps to bridge connectivity between iOS and Android devices anytime soon. But it will be interesting to see how developers implement the new capability to get started, and whether it will make using certain apps easier.

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