Gadgets for humans

Every phone should have the Galaxy S20’s bluetooth sharing feature

Galaxy S20

Samsung unveiled a bunch of stuff at its special event last night: three phones under the Galaxy S20 series, a new clamshell foldable phone called the Galaxy Z Flip, and the Galaxy Buds+ wireless earbuds. While there’s a lot to unpack, one of the features that caught my eye on the new S20 series phone is Bluetooth sharing.

Assisted by Bluetooth 5.0 standard, the phone acts as a Bluetooth hub allowing multiple devices to connect to it. It’s easy to imagine scenarios where this is quite useful.

You can connect to a Bluetooth speaker or your car’s audio system, and your friends can connect to your Galaxy S20 device without having to reconnect to the audio system. This allows you and your friends to play songs turn-by-turn instead of fighting over whose turn is it to connect their phone.

[Read: Bluetooth’s new standard will support streaming to multiple devices]

It’s not clear how it’ll work in practice, but one of the good implementations of audio sharing I’ve used is through Google Chromecast. It has a guest mode that allows your friends to connect to your Chromecast once they’re under the same WiFi network. Then they can queue up their own songs via apps like YouTube. Given Samsung’s close partnership with Spotify, I would expect to see a shared playlist feature in the app.

One of my favorite things to do is share music when I meet people. Last year, Apple enabled an audio sharing feature to listen to music and movies simultaneously if you have Airpods. Hopefully, Apple will extend this to other types of headphones soon. Earlier this year, Bluetooth Special Interest Group, an organization that oversees the development of the Bluetooth standard, announced a new protocol that allows multi-streaming. These developments will certainly allow me to share music easily.

My dream is that we will see these features — audio sharing, multi-streaming, and connection sharing — being included by all phone makers in a couple of years. One can certainly hope.

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Published February 12, 2020 — 10:57 UTC