Testing NFC sharing between Windows 8 & Nexus 7

What does a Windows 8 slate and a Google Nexus 7 tablet have in common? They both support NFC!

Since I’ve rarely seen NFC across two different platforms, I decided to put the two devices to the test by sharing content from one to the other, all without any prior configuration. As it turns out, it works quite well for sharing web pages but not so well for other things.

The most basic test, sharing webpages, was quite easy. Both devices were able to send and receive when the two devices kissed (in the right place, it takes some getting use to). Surprisingly, receiving NFC content on Android actually required no interaction and launches applications immediately whereas Windows 8 does present a prompt and an opportunity to dismiss it.

Sharing more advanced content presents some interesting challenges. Since there’s very minimal NFC “send” support in Windows 8, sending Google Maps from the Nexus 7 invoked Internet Explorer to open to the website, presumably for compatibility reasons since there’s no industry standard for map data.

I also didn’t have any luck sending photo images between Windows 8 and Android as neither platform understands the proprietary data the other is sending.

Hopefully NFC across platforms will improve as apps and OSes come to agreement with some pseudo-standards for sharing rich data beyond just web pages. Until then, get ready to share your favourite YouTube videos by kissing your friends’ tablets.

Thanks to Dinesh and Hank for their hand-modelling.

8 insightful thoughts

  1. I’d say a confirmation is better. Whilst unlikely, what if someone is trying to send you a link to a malicious website? There’d be no option to decline it on the Android tablet.

    1. I wouldn’t think it’s much of a concern. For NFC transactions to function, each device must be in very close proximity to each other. It’s safe to assume that if you are receiving content over NFC, that you are aware it is taking place and already know who is sending it and what they are sending.

      1. But what if said devices were like a pixelsense (surface) table with hacked malware site code, put your nexus on it and boom. Death from Above (or below in this case)

  2. The reason it opened IE is because Google Maps shares its URL. On Android, the Maps application would hear the Google Maps URL and open the app. Not sure if you can listen for specific urls on Windows 8.

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