2013-11-21

Co.Labs

This Sharing Service Puts Apple AirDrop To Shame

Fasetto is a small company with a humble but ambitious idea: create an app that allows users to share files between smartphones--totally cross platform, and fully functioning offline.



So you’ve got a pretty large file on your phone that you want to send to the person sitting next to you. You ask if they have Dropbox. Nope, she’s a Google Drive gal. Okay, you say, I can work with that--then the Wi-Fi cuts out. Your file is a long video and you’d rather not burn up any of your data plan, so you ask what phone she has--it’s an Android. You’re on iOS, and out of options. But you shouldn’t be.

Coy Christmas and Luke Malpass ascribe to the classic hacker philosophy that argues that you should be in control of your tech, and use it as you wish. Their company, Fasetto, claims that they’ve found a way to work around the kind of scenario detailed above, to create a platform-agnostic file-sharing app for mobile phones. They call it PDQ: Pretty Darn Quick. Here’s how it works.

According to the company’s Kickstarter, the PDQ app uses any and all transport layers supported by the devices: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, or any other port/protocol your phone may have. This allows your device to send files to any other phone, regardless of platform or whether or not you’re connected to a network or router.

On a technical level, it’s pretty similar to how AirDrop works in iOS 7, along with comparable Android apps like SuperBeam, but options like those are limited in the platforms they can be used on, most often due to vendor/hardware restrictions. PDQ, though, bypasses all of that.

“We’re doing something that’s completely allowed and completely available--just nobody’s done it yet," Christmas told VentureBeat.

Which begs the question of whether or not a vendor like Apple would allow an app like PDQ into its carefully cultivated ecosystem. There, as they say, lies the rub: Even if promising and useful software like PDQ can get funded and made, its usefulness and novelty can be severely hampered if a vendor does not wish to play ball.

Of course, that’s nothing a little rooting and jailbreaking won’t solve, but as software developers make better use of the hardware available to consumers, one would hope that it would become easier for users to stretch their legs and do crazy things like what PDQ offers. Because the smartphone equivalent of handing a package to a friend comes with an awful lot of caveats, and could stand being a little easier, don’t you think?

[Image: Flickr user Ben Grey]






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