Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo unveil a new cross-brand direct file transfer alliance

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August 19, 2019
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This marks as the first of its kind collaboration, as three Chinese smartphone giants Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo have recently announced a new cross-brand direct file transfer alliance. According to a WeChat post by Xiaomi’s official MIUI account, smartphones from all three brands would soon be able to transfer files at up to 20 MBps without any third-party app ensuring a seamless media transfer experience.

It is worth mentioning here that these three smartphone manufacturers have almost 50% market share in China. So, a majority of smartphone users in China will benefit from this alliance. We may also see more manufacturers join the alliance in the future. For example, if Huawei and its Honor brand join this alliance, it would be a big win for almost every Android phone user in this Universe.

Essentially, the newly launched protocol will use Bluetooth to pair devices and should be capable of transfer speeds of up to 20MB/s, which suggests it uses Wi-Fi on the backend, like Apple’s proprietary AirDrop system. Xiaomi’s post says other smartphone manufacturers can apply to join the presently allied trio. A beta version of the service is expected to release by the end of this month.

The newly unveiled system enables one-click file transfer between smartphones from Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo. The transfer supports multiple file formats such as photos, videos, songs, documents, etc and is fast (up to 20 MBps), stable, and power-efficient. There’s no need for any third-party apps.

Meanwhile, though the move is claimed to be first of its kind when it comes to adding support for multiple manufacturers, Google had attempted to launch AirDrop-style services for Android in the past. Back in 2014, the Android 4.0 included Android Beam, which relied on NFC for device pairing and is being removed in the upcoming Android Q. The company’s newer Files by Google (originally Files Go) app offers file transfer with Bluetooth pairing, while Android Q itself will integrate similar “Fast Share” functionality into the share sheet.

Moreover, the Fast Share feature is reportedly a Google Play Services feature, which probably explains why Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are working together to roll their own version. The three companies account for around half of the Chinese smartphone market — 49 percent last quarter, according to recent data from Counterpoint Research — which means they have a huge addressable user base running non-Google versions of Android. The biggest question is whether Huawei, which captured 34 percent of the market alone last quarter, might be tempted to get on board.

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