The first Android 13 previews aren’t expected for another month, if history is any guide, but features for the forthcoming version have already been seen in development. There’s a new feature that could be coming in Android 13 among a slew of other audio-related updates (keep an eye on our coverage later today). We don’t know much about it yet, but it appears to let you transfer media between your phone and other devices, similar to how Apple’s iPhones and HomePods do.
At this time, all we have is a UI demo (read: Google’s design) for parts of the “Media TTT” workflow – the last bit is for “tap to transfer,” but we don’t know if it will have that term or branding. The information about the feature itself comes from a reliable and anonymous source.
There are various unknowns, and it’s possible that Google hasn’t entirely figured out how it’ll function. However, we do know that when a user is playing media on a local media cast sender device (a fancy way of saying your Android phone) and it gets close enough to a media cast receiver device (which could be another phone, a tablet, or even a Chromecast or Assistant-connected speaker — we’re not sure yet), the feature will display chip notifications with some contextually useful information.
If you’re too far away from the device, it’ll advise you to get closer, and after you’ve transferred media playback, it’ll let you know and give you the opportunity to undo it.
The rest of this is guesswork because we don’t have a comprehensive idea of how the functionality might work. However, it appears that it would need to employ something like NFC or UWB to work with enough precision and granularity to pick out a specific device from a context like a gadget-filled room, which might mean companion gadgets would have to meet certain hardware requirements.
The technique for media playback will also be essential, and I believe it uses Google’s Casting protocols (and hence could work with Chromecasts or Nest speakers if it can successfully detect them), though we don’t have any proof of that. (For all we know, this new feature might be useful in non-media workflows as well.)
If those assumptions are correct — and given what we know currently, this is a big “if” — it’ll be quite similar to Apple’s iPhone function that lets you tap your phone to a Homepod to transfer media to it.
Google is working on a capability to move media between devices in Android 13, as well as a revised output selector and new QR code scanning functionality. It’s very early in the development cycle, so features like this could disappear or alter substantially before release. If Android 12L doesn’t throw a kink in the typical release timetable, we might see the first portions of this all in action in the next couple of months with the first developer preview.