- Google provides an example of a toolkit for developers that can help them create smoother, multi-device experiences.
- Apps built with this toolkit allow people to seamlessly switch from one Android device to another.
- Google hopes to eventually extend this feature to non-Android devices as well.
All your Android devices use the same apps, but it takes some searching between them and it’s not always possible to switch in the middle of a task.
To iron out the kinks, Google has launched a new software development kit (SDK) for developers, which it says will help them create apps that connect and play fun with other instances that run on all your Android devices. Google is currently in preview for developers and plans to eventually expand the toolkit so that people can continue to use their apps seamlessly on non-Android phones, tablets, TVs, cars, and other devices.
“For the average Android user, this could mean more apps will support user-friendly experiences across multiple devices,” Roy Solberg, Android Tech Lead at FotMob, told Lifewire via email. “In practice, apps [people] working with something on the phone, for example preparing a food order, then picking it up and continuing the order on your laptop and then submitting it. Another example would be to log into your streaming account on your phone and then have it magically log into your TV without entering the credentials or scanning a QR code.”
Google makes an apple
Solberg tells us that while developers can already build similar experiences across multiple devices in theory, in practice this is rarely the case.
“The reason for this is that the overhead for creating such functions is normally too great,” explains Solberg. “Now that Google has this focus and makes it easier to create cross-device features, I hope we start to see some really great user experiences.”
Gaurav Chandra, CTO of the LGBTQ+ social network As You Are, believes the toolkit is an attempt by Google to emulate the experience available to Apple users through Handoff.
Chandra argues that because of the tight integration of Apple’s hardware and software, people with iOS devices will experience a much better multi-device experience than what’s available in the fragmented Android ecosystem, as multiple device manufacturers have their own custom versions of Android.
“Because of this issue, Android app developers have not been able to provide the same experience as Apple developers,” Chandra told Lifewire via email. “With this new SDK, Google wants Android to compete with Apple Handoff.”
One of the biggest benefits of the new toolkit, as Chandra sees it, is the ability to let devices communicate directly with each other, providing a much smoother user experience without having to go over the internet.
Jarle Antonsen, team leader and senior developer at Vivaldi who works on mobile apps, is also looking forward to tinkering with the toolkit, but stresses it’s too early as the SDK is currently only available in preview to developers.
“It looks like this is something we can use to improve our Sync functionality so that users can share data more efficiently between our mobile, car and desktop browsers without going through the cloud,” Antonsen told Lifewire via email. .
Chandra looks forward to the days when he can use his OnePlus smartphone to initiate a video call and then continue it seamlessly on his Samsung tablet without relying on a messy process.
Plus, the multi-device experience isn’t limited to your own devices. Solberg points out that with this toolkit, developers can create experiences where people can more easily collaborate and communicate with, for example, their friends and family.
In fact, one of the use cases that Google describes in the documentation for the SDK is the ability for multiple users on different devices to choose items from a menu when making a group food order instead of having to carry the phone across the room. to let go.
The toolkit currently only works with Android phones and tablets, although Google has emphasized in its blog that it will eventually expand it to support other Android devices and non-Android operating systems.
“I hope developers [will also] think about [using this toolkit in] some creative ways to create social multiplayer games where users can play with others within the same geographic area,” said Solberg.
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