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Android Beam brings NFC tap-to-share on Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich

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Google has announced "Android Beam," which uses NFC to share files and links between Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich. First demoed today at the Galaxy Nexus launch, the new feature is similar to touch-to-share on webOS, but more robust for a few reasons. Firstly, it uses NFC instead of a proprietary chip. Second, it can share much more, including links, information from Android's People app, YouTube videos, map links, Android Market links, and files. Finally, and most importantly it will be available on a viable platform. Google promises developers can use it to start multiplayer games, group chats, and more with an open API.

After pairing is achieved by tapping the NFC chip on two devices together, the link or file is instantly shared. Until now, NFC has been under-utilized in the smartphone space, showing up primarily in Google Wallet and some sporadic local tagging, so it's nice to see Google is finally putting some effort behind the technology.

Find a gallery of the Android Beam feature below!

Also check out our hands-on with the Galaxy Nexus and our exclusive interview with Matias Duarte.

Update: Check out our hands-on with Beam right here.