Earlier this week, we heard about the introduction of Nearby Share for Windows. The feature, which can already be found on Android phones, acts in a very similar way to Apple's AirDrop, allowing users to share files between devices with ease.
The debut of the feature on Windows computers adds a crucial extra piece to that puzzle. Being able to share files between a phone and a laptop is arguably the most useful part of this idea, and now that's something Android and Windows users can enjoy too.
When I first heard the news, I was excited. Recently, someone asked me what was stopping me from swapping from my current suite of Apple products over to Android. My response was AirDrop.
Until I really stopped and thought about it, I didn't realise just how often I used it. Transferring pictures from an iPhone to a MacBook for editing? AirDrop. Putting card details in online and need to copy them from the banking app on my phone? AirDrop. Need to sign a document on an iPad? Yep, you guessed it – AirDrop.
So surely, now that Android and Windows have caught up, I could tempt myself into making a switch, right? Not entirely, and for two main reasons.
Firstly, I'm not convinced that Nearby Share will be as seamless as AirDrop. In particular, I'm thinking about the bank details scenario. I use it every time I make a purchase and it couldn't be more simple. Copy on iPhone; paste on Mac. It's almost instantaneous. If that functionality is possible across Android and Windows, I question whether it could ever be quite as seamless an experience.
Secondly, I still don't think there's a viable laptop alternative that can rival the MacBook, pound-for-pound. I use an M1 MacBook Air, and could easily make it through a full day of intensive use – video and photo editing, design, music production, even gaming – without fear of it dying. I've yet to find a Windows laptop that can compete on that front.
Honestly, I think the better – though very unlikely – solution would be a universal AirDrop/Nearby Share-type system. That way, you could send files quickly and simply, no matter what kind of devices you were running.
Will that ever happen? I doubt it. But hey, it's nice to ponder what could be...