At first blush, Android Beam sounded like it could go the route of face unlocking--one of those fun, breezy gimmicks in the new Ice Cream Sandwich operating system that would last for a party trick or two, but ultimately die down.
With only one review unit in-house, there was no way to know for sure. However, fellow mobile journalist Blake Stimac and I brought our Galaxy Nexus phones together for a little playdate, and it quickly became clear how useful and broad Android Beam can be.
As a refresher, Android Beam uses NFC (near-field communication), a radio frequency technology, to pass certain types of information from one phone to a compatible phone (for starters, both phones need NFC.) Assuming both phones' screens are on, NFC is enabled on both phones, and Android Beam is activated, which it is by default, you can simply press the backs of the two phones together to trigger a beam.… Read more