It looks like one of the most popular and highly anticipated smartphones released to date, the Samsung Galaxy S III, will be one of the devices to fragment the Android ecosystem with its NFC sharing feature due to incompatible technological implementations for the Android Beam feature.
On a standard, non-Galaxy S III smartphone, sharing via NFC through a feature called Android Beam, present on Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean OSes, the feature makes use of NFC to pair the two devices and uses Bluetooth to transfer the files once both devices have been tapped together.
On a Galaxy S III, Samsung uses WiFi Direct to transfer the files. The benefit here is that WiFi Direct is faster than Bluetooth and users can send larger files–such as 1080p HD videos captured with the Galaxy S III’s rear-facing camera–quickly and easily through Samsung’s S Beam, which makes use of NFC to pair and WiFi Direct to send. However, the differing uses of technology between Android Beam and S Beam will make it incompatible for devices like the Galaxy Nexus, also made by Samsung, to share photos and files with the Galaxy S III.
With Android Beam on Jelly Bean, also known as Android 4.1, users can share multiple photos and videos at a time. Users can select multiple files from the Gallery app and then tap two nearby devices together back-to-back to initiate the beam process. However, as Android Central points out, Android Beam may be limited to smaller file sizes right now as Bluetooth is a slower protocol for sending files, which is probably why Samsung opted to go with WiFi Direct.
As Android Beam is implemented and adopted on other handsets from Samsung’s rivals, such as LG, Motorola, and HTC to name a few, Samsung’s popular flagship may be the one that creates incompatibility issues and fragments the Android ecosystem this time around.