Google’s latest version of Android is slated for release soon. One of the key features include enhanced NFC support in the form of Android Beam. Many built-in applications, from YouTube to the standard web browser to the contact manager, will support NFC by default, allowing users to quickly share data from one device to another.
A few months ago, I was privileged to intern with the (incredibly hard working) NFC team. One of the main projects I got to help with affects the underpinnings of how peer-to-peer NFC works across devices in Android. Previously, Android relied on the custom “NDEF Push Protocol” for sharing messages across devices. The NFC Forum recently published a new specification for running p2p interactions, called SNEP (Simple NDEF Exchange Protocol). This specification supports the same interactions as the NDEF Push Protocol in a standards-compliant way.
In Ice Cream Sandwich and beyond, Android devices will make use of SNEP for P2P exchanges. As other platforms build out further support for NFC, hopefully they too will make use of the SNEP protocol, allowing NFC interactions across platforms. The future of mobile sharing is looking bright!