Google announced a lot of exciting new Android Q features at Google IO 2019, but there was also one it didn't tell us about: a replacement for Android Beam.
Android Beam, the NFC sharing method where you put to phones back to back to transfer photos, videos, and other files, is nowhere to be found in the ongoing Android Q beta.
At Google IO, we found out that it's not coming back, either, according to the reps we talked to who are working on Android updates. It's in the Android Pie version of our Google Pixel 3a and Google Pixel 3a XL phones, but not on our Google Pixel 3 touting Android Q beta 2 – and upgrading to beta 3 won't help.
The final version of Android Q (whatever it will be named) won't see Beam support, so consumers waiting for the stabilized version of Q will see the feature taken away in early August, based on Google's beta timeline and also the past history of Android updates.
RIP Android Beam – we need an AirDrop equivalent
Granted, the number of people who know about and actually use Android Beam is rather low. Third-party sharing apps like Send Anywhere fill our share menu – they're okay but not seamless. Google Photos and Google Drive are alternatives, too, but require some extra steps for file transfers to someone nearby.
Nothing strikes a chord like Apple's AirDrop, which lets you easily send photos and videos between nearby iOS and even Mac devices. It uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the transfer of photos has been nearly flawless for us.
The Android Beam successor, if there is one, will hopefully work a lot like AirDrop. It may launch when Android Q drops, or perhaps it'll be touted as a new feature when the rumored Google Pixel 4 gets announced in or around October.
We've reached out to the Google Android team to get further clarification on what's coming post-Android Beam to facilitate nearby peer-to-peer file transfers. We'll update this page when they respond.