Samsung Flow takes on Apple's iOS Handoff, Continuity features

Easily picking up an app where you left off between phones, tablets and other devices is what Flow delivers. It's not quite as seamless as similar features in iOS 8 though.

Samsung Flow, software that lets you move activities between mobile devices, is now available in beta on the Google Play Store. The app is Samsung's take on what Apple iOS 8 phones and tablets can do: Pick up where you left off from one device to another.

Flow was actually introduced back in November, notes Android Central, but took until now for Samsung to deliver.

If you don't have Samsung devices, you're out of luck: Flow only works with the company's own smartphones and tablets.

Samsung plans to extend Flow to its television sets, laptops and wearable devices in the future. Apple's similar Continuity and Handoff features are also restricted to Apple phones, tablets, laptops and the Apple Watch, so this is an ecosystem play both both companies.

Another key difference in how Samsung is enabling Flow. Unlike Apple's implementation where the handoffs are seamless, Samsung Flow is a manual process; at least for now.

If you're browsing a web page on a Galaxy S6, for example, and want to view it on a Galaxy Tab, you have to hit the Flow button and choose to open the content on the tablet. There is a potential benefit to this approach however. With Flow, you can choose to "defer" viewing until a later time. Samsung's demonstration video illustrates this feature, which could be useful.

Even with the manual action involved, I like where Samsung is going with its Flow software.

As we add more screens to our lives, content should be set free. By that, I mean it shouldn't matter what device you want to use for a particular task or action.

Smart software implementation, coupled with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE connections, should let the content -- for lack of a better word -- flow to the device of choice.

Samsung says Flow currently supports the native Android sharing functions so you're not limited solely to flinging Samsung-specific apps between phones and tablets. The company has broader plans for Flow as well, offering a simple way for developers to enable their own apps for Flow.

If you're interested in Flow and want to try the free beta, it's available from the Google Play Store for these devices: Galaxy S5, S6, and S6 Edge; Galaxy Alpha; Note 4 and Note Edge; and the Galaxy Tab S.

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