At I/O 2022, Google detailed a way for Android apps to build cross-device experiences, similar to Nearby Share, and the SDK’s developer preview is now available.

The Cross device SDK “allows developers to build rich multidevice experiences with a simple and intuitive set of APIs.” Namely, Google takes care of device discovery, authentication, and connection protocols (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and UWB), so that app devs can just focus on “delightful user experiences and connecting these experiences across a variety of form factors and platforms.” There are three core functionalities offered by the SDK:

  1. Device discovery: Easily find nearby devices, authorize peer-to-peer communication, and start the target application on receiving devices.
  2. Secure connections: Enable encrypted, low-latency bidirectional data sharing between authorized devices.
  3. Multi-device Sessions: Enable transferring or extending an application’s user experience across multiple devices.

This translates into applications offering features like:

  • Discovering and authorizing communication with nearby devices.
  • Sharing an app’s current state with the same app on another device.
  • Starting the app on a secondary device without having to keep the app running in background.
  • Establishing secure connections for devices to communicate with each other.
  • Enabling task handoff where the user starts a task on one device and can easily continue on another device.

In the long-term, Google’s Cross device SDK will work on apps for Android phones, tablets, TV, Auto, Wear OS, ChromeOS, iOS, and Windows, with the company open to other platforms as well. It’s also backward compatible with Android 8.

The developer preview is starting with Android phones and tablets today.

Head over to our developer guide to get started and try out the Developer Preview of the Cross device SDK for Android. Make sure to check out our Rock Paper Scissor sample app (Kotlin and Java) on GitHub for a demonstration on how to work with the various APIs and our Google I/O ‘22 Multi-device development session for a general overview of the SDK.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com