Samsung's S Beam teaches Android a new trick

The Samsung Galaxy S III introduces Samsung's take on a relatively new Android feature.

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Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Thought Leadership, Speed Desk and How-To. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica led CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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Samsung Galaxy S III
S Beam is Android Beam on steroids. The good kind. Josh Miller/CNET

In opening up its Android operating system, Google ensured one thing: that handset-makers would have the room they needed to dress up Google's little green OS however they please.

With S Beam on the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung took a good feature, Android Beam, and made it great.

For the uninitiated, Android Beam uses NFC (near-field communication) to transfer instructions for calling up things like contact information and URLs from one NFC-enabled phone to another.

First Look
Watch this: Android Beam for Ice Cream Sandwich

S Beam ups the ante with a Wi-Fi Direct handshake that also makes it able to transfer photos, video, and other documents via NFC. S Beam works with GSIII phones for now, but will likely work on future Samsung tablets and phones.

I was able to beam countless photos and videos from one review GSIII to another. The larger the file, the longer it takes to download, so don't expect instant results.

Admittedly, S Beam's sphere of usefulness is a little slim right now, since Android Ice Cream Sandwich phones are still marching out. You'll still be able to beam anything you can with Android Beam from one compatible phone to another, so that helps advance the cause.

Samsung also cooked up its own take on NFC stickers with its new Samsung TecTiles stickers and free app.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy S III review for T-Mobile and AT&T.