Introducing Portal, WiFi file transfers made easy - YouTube 2015-06-16 12-02-00

Pushbullet is an essential part many an internet user’s every day routine, and now the company behind the cross-platform file moving app has released a new — and yet very old — way of transferring files from one device to another. The company’s new app, called Portal, lets you effortlessly transfer files from your computer to your smartphone or tablet directly over your local WiFi connection. It’s simple and lightweight, but that’s what makes it powerful.

As I said, the concept of using your your local area network to move files is as old as local area networks themselves. But with Portal, you can do this faster and easier than I’ve seen with any other app. All you have to do is open up Portal, head to the Portal website, scan a QR code with your phone, and drag-and-drop your files into your browser. Instantly, the files you dropped on the desktop side will be moved over your LAN to your phone.

On the app side, you’ll find a very simple user interface that asks you to navigate to and scan the QR code. Once you’ve done that, you’re immediately jumped over to a screen that shows the list of items that have been moved. Dropping these items in the browser moves them fast—really fast. They never touch Pushbullet’s servers during transfer (unlike with the Pushbullet app), and you can then do with them what you please with a quick share button within the app.

There are a lot of potential use cases for this. Pushbullet does a great job of accomplishing the same task—and many others—but the team wanted to see how simple and streamlined they could make moving files from PC to mobile device. At the moment, the app sadly doesn’t work both ways, but while this is the case for now, the company has said that they’re always open to exploring new use cases and features.

If you’re like me and you’re constantly switching between several devices, Pushbullet’s app is indispensable. And this exploration into a faster and easier way to move files between platforms is very appreciated; it’s something I do every day, and it’s definitely a pain point in my work flow. Pushbullet says that this is just a start for Portal though, and that it’s definitely a feature that could very well be incorporated into the more capable Pushbullet app at some point in the future.

You can grab Portal on the Play Store right now for free. If you’re an iOS user, you’re out of luck for the moment.

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.