Should media sharing between mobile devices be easier?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| January 28, 2011

From the time I got my first camera phone, I started taking pictures of anything and everything that interested me. Whether it was a truck in my school parking lot missing three tires or the most exquisite plate of sashimi you have ever seen, I always have the camera on my phone on quick-draw, ready for the snapshot of the day. Most of the time, I simply upload these pictures to Facebook or share them on Twitter. But every now and then I'll take a picture of a very nice scenery or something worth looking at and a friend will want it. This is where the problem occurs.

I could email it to them, but that doesn't always work so well. I've sent emails from my Android phone countless times and had them get stuck in "sending" mode for days, until I finally decide to delete them. We could transfer using Bluetooth, but you have to pair the devices first, and the transfer can be painstakingly slow depending on the file size. There are also applications like Hoccer and Bump which were created to solve this problem. If your one of your connections (Wi-Fi, data, or GPS) aren't strong, you can run into issues with this as well. More often than not, Hoccer works. But it still could be easier.

One of the cooler concepts for sharing media between devices is the Amnesia Razorfish's new Amnesia Connect in combination with a Microsoft Surface table. Right now it only works with the iPad and iPhone, but the capability is said to be expanding to Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7 devices in the future. The problem? Microsoft Surface tables aren't sitting around every coffee shop like we would like for them to be, and they cost somewhere in the range of $10,000.

NFC support is expected to take off this year as we're seeing it more and more in the introduction of new phones. This capability will undoubtedly allow users to share media more easily and quickly. Simply hold one phone near the other. Viola! You have successfully shared a video, a picture, or some form of media in a fraction of the time it would take to with any other method. The obvious problem with this is there is only one (recent) phone in the US market with NFC support right now. Several are coming, but there isn't much we can do with NFC in the meantime.

I guess I'm just jealous after watching The Astonishing Tribe's concept video. A guy at work holds his phone up to his computer screen to download an image. Two friends sit on a bench next to each other, slide a picture from one phone to the other, and walk away. In TAT's video, these are all built-in native features – how it should be, simple and quick.

With all of these interesting concepts and new technologies out there, I know I'm not alone when I say that it's time that media sharing gets an overhaul. NFC support will definitely make things a little easier for us, but that will require buying an entirely new phone for most of us. For the time being, we're stuck using archaic emails or finicky applications to share media between two phones. Unless, of course, a daring developer wants to step up to the challenge.

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