New support for Android Beam, the name used for NFC peer-to-peer sharing in Android, is to be introduced with Android L, version 5.0 of Google’s operating system.
Currently, Android Beam only springs into action once a user has tapped their phone to the device they wish to exchange data with. With Android L, Android Beam can be switched on by an API call from an app, so NFC P2P sharing is already live when they begin making an NFC tap, speeding up the sharing process and minimising the need to interact with the device while holding it in contact with the target.
Android Beam will also be available directly from the “share” menu, making it easier for users to locate the function.
Support has also been added for NDEF records containing UTF-8 text data and for dynamic registration of NFC application IDs (AIDs), which are used for routing NFC transactions to the app that should handle them. Payments application developers can also use a new ‘set preferred service’ function to select the card emulation service that should be used when a particular activity is in the foreground.
Android L will offer a wide range of new functions for mobile payments and commerce developers including support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) peripheral mode, tighter integration with Android Wear devices, new security features, upgraded notifications, and enhancements to Google Play and carrier billing.