Android beam was introduced in 2011 with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It was a quick and easy way to send files and links between two devices by bumping them together. However, Google and OEMs didn’t really push the feature, utilize it to its full potential, or popularize it, and now Mountain View is preparing to drop the APIs related to NFC-based Android Beam starting the next version of the OS, Android Q.
Over on the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) website, a series of commits were discovered that indicate deprecation of the feature. One such commit is even entitled “Deprecate Android beam APIs and create a feature flag to gate them”.
AndroidPolice notes that OEMs will have to specifically state their support for Android Beam, similarly to how they do with certain hardware features like NFC. Chances are that devices that will be upgraded to Android Q will keep this functionality, while those shipping with Android Q will no longer have it. Such a move would enable Google to phase out Android Beam in stages without upsetting current users relying on the feature.
Image credit: GadgetHacks