App continuity is all the rage at the moment, thanks to Apple’s recently introduced feature to share apps and data between iOS and OS X devices. Nextbit, a software team of ex-Googlers, is trying to bring the same electronic wizardry to Android.
Nextbit’s core offering is the ability to let you push an app’s state from one Android device to another. In the middle of an Angry Birds session on your phone, but you need the extra accuracy and control that only a full-sized tablet can allow? No problemo! Or, more realistically, if you’re writing an email or browsing photos or reading an article or doing any one of a long list of things that are better on a bigger screen, you can change fairly seamlessly over to the better device. All you have to do is open Android’s app-change menu, select the target device, and you can push any app over (if the app isn’t installed on the target device, you’ll get a prompt to install it).
It’s more or less the same concept as Apple promises with its recently-released Continuity feature, although Nextbit is strictly between Android devices, for the time being. And actually, there are further limitations: for Nextbit to work, it needs to be integrated into the very framework of the OS itself, rather than being an app running on the surface. As a result, the folks behind Nextbit have partnered with Cyanogen, the team behind the most popular custom version of Android, Cyanogenmod.
Although CM is hands-down the biggest and most promising Android alternative, it’s still only sold on one phone, the (excellent) OnePlus One. In the near future, then, the only chance to use Nextbit will likely be if you’ve got rooted devices running a custom build of CM — not technically that challenging, but certainly something that’s off the radar of most consumers, and certainly a long way off Apple’s promise of seamless continuity between devices.
If the limitations of availability can be overcome, though, this could turn out to be an awesome feature for Android, especially in the living room. Android-powered set-top boxes are becoming slowly more commonplace, and an ability to magically send apps from your phone onto the big screen could be absolutely killer. [Engadget]