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Touch to share 20

by Adam Marks Fri, 09 Mar 2012 6:50 pm EST

Touch To share

Touch-to-share was a concept that was introduced at the Think Beyond event with the unveiling of the Veer, Pre3 and TouchPad. The concept was that you could use a near field communications-type technology to share data between your devices simply by touching them together. While touch-to-share was ultimately going to be expanded to include a lot of different types of data, even giving developers the ability to access it in their apps, touch-to-share currently only lets you share web pages between devices and doesn’t appear that it will be expanded any time soon. And unfortunately, while the Veer has the hardware requirements to allow touch-to-share, it never received the software update to take advantage of this functionality; so, you will be required to have a Pre3 and a TouchPad (or two of each device) to access it.

So how does touch-to-share work? All you need to do is place the back of the Pre3 (where the HP logo is) on top the home button of the TouchPad and let it sit for a second or two. You will know that the touch-to-share was activated because a giant ripple will emanate from the home button on the TouchPad, and then one of a few things will happen:

  • If Bluetooth was not turned On on either device, you will get a notice saying that you will need to turn Bluetooth on in order to take advantage of this feature and give you an option to turn Bluetooth on. Once on, try touch-to-share again
  • If the two devices were not already paired together via Bluetooth, they will automatically get paired together and you will get a pop-up on your Pre3 asking to allow messaging access to share your text messages across the devices. Regardless of the answer to this question, your devices will now be paired together and you can access touch-to-share.
    • You can also adjust your Bluetooth preferences (such as allowing messaging or phone calls between devices) later or even open up the Bluetooth app and swipe-to-delete a device from your list if you want permanently delete it from your list of trusted devices.
  • Assuming that you now have Bluetooth turned on and two devices paired together, if you have a webpage active on the screen from the stock web browser on the Pre3 and/or the TouchPad when you touch the two devices together, the URL of that site will be sent to the other device and the stock web browser will launch and open that page. Unfortunately, it will not send your position on the page or any other data that you may have filled in on the originating device. It simply sends over the website address

While this is not a feature that is probably used often, it is convienent when you are reading a site on your phone and decide that you would rather read it on the larger screen of your TouchPad, or if you are reading a site on your TouchPad but have to leave the house and you can quickly transfer that site to your phone. And, until HP or someone within the Open Source webOS team expands touch-to-share, this is all that we will be able to use touch-to-share for.

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20 Comments

I rarely have used the touch to share (except for showing off webOS) But I know I would use it a lot if:
I could share notes from the touchpad to the pre3
If I could touch to share a phone call (would be AWESOME)
If I could touch to share my music
Or EMAIL!

Give me just a few of those features and I would be using touch to share EVERY FREAKING DAY! It would be exceptionally helpful for writing notes.. Cause I tend to find myself writing up grocery lists on the touchpad but I don't want to bring that to the store..

I tend to listen to music on the way home on my pre3.. If I could transfer it to my Touchpad (or even a tv show) It would be an easy transition. for me to go about my day..

.. AGh..... love the concept.. hate how little they have come w/ it.

@Zukny - I like the notes idea.

Does anyone know if there is an API for developers to take advantage of touch to share?

Hardbeatz mentioned something about low level code relating to TTS. Have a search through the forums under his username, it was a little while back though...

I would love if I could sync calendars, contacts and documents at choice. This is something that has a lot of potential and yet another Palm/webOS innovative feature. Have a feast iOS and android...

P.S.: Where is the TTS for the VEER?!

For some of the features you are asking for, you should check out DataJog

The touch to share feature is totally useless. Like someone else commented, I only use it to show off Webos.

It would be more useful it did something more, like hand off whatever you were doing on the Touchpad to your Pre 3. By that I mean transferring all apps currently open and their state. So you could start writing an email on the Touchpad, and finish it on the Pre 3. Or continue chatting with someone in Messaging.

TTS is an overrated gimmick. For all of the discussion about how it would be a marquee feature of webOS devices, all it ever did was send a URL via bluetooth. That's it. And, it never even made it onto all of the webOS phones.

If you think about it, you don't even need any special hardware to accomplish this. If you've got two bluetooth devices paired, all you would need to do was to have a protocol where if one unit detected a bump via the accelerometer, it sends out a message looking for a nearby device that detected a bump at the same time. Once the other device has been located then just send over the URL and the other device launches it. HP could have implemented it on all of their webOS devices with a software update of the OS.

TTS was never anything worth mentioning yet people's imaginations ran wild thinking that we would be tapping all sorts of electronic devices together to move around content. It doesn't make much sense given what mobile devices are transferring via the cloud.

A different perspective is when you have two devices owned by different people. My wife and I each have our own TouchPad, and often share interesting URLs using TTS by just touching our TPs together. It's a great feature.

So initially I thought tts could have been usefull if it were expanded upon and used NFC instead for a more standardized approach. Now I have to agree with those that call it a gimmick. It's cute for those little one off things but I don't want to have to bring my devices together to share data. That takes me back to the old Palm ir days.

I much prefer something like iCloud (but cross-platform) where it is a more seamless experience. I take a pic, it's on all my devices; done. That sort of thing. If I put my tablet down upstairs and don't remember that I needed to grab a link or a document or whatever before I'm already in my car driving away from home, I don't want to have to turn around. I just want to know that my documents are wherever I am and on whatever device I happen to be using at the moment.

I'd reserve tts-like functionality for more basic things like pairing a universal remote with a tv and having it automatically learn the commands for that tv without me having to enter cryptic codes. TTS for sharing regular data (photos, documents, etc.) just seems like a hassle.

I have a Galaxy Nexus (NFC) and a touchpad. just to make sure, it's NFC type tech, not actually NFC? right? and if it is NFC, will developers open it up abit?

It's NFC type, not actually NFC.

Adam, when are we going to see that review of the Mugen XL 2800 battery that you promised over a month ago? I'm impatiently waiting to find out it the replacement back cover still works with my Touchstone charger ('cause it's pretty difficult to get any info out of Mugen)

Id love to have TTS between my devices. Does it really work with 2 tpads ? If so, how?

More useless: Touch-To-Share or an article that just explains what it does months after the feature was abandoned and the hardware using it was discontinued?

Is there any chance the Veer phones will ever get the software upgrade for Touch to Share to work? I own both devices and travel on a train for an hour each morning and evening. This would be very handy for me. Seems like TTS for email would be critical.

Imagine if TTS was usable in apps, you would be able to sync app data.

Perhaps when back home from that jogging session, touch to sync the data that was recorded by your phone. Keeping stats for your golfing rounds and syncing to the TP. Still dont see usage for TTS, to me its pretty much limitless if it just was possible implementing into apps.

That's the thing, when I get back from my run and my bike ride, my data is synched before I even walk in the front door. When I take a picture on my iPhone while on vacation, that picture is on my iPad waiting for me back home. I could lose my iPhone on vacation and I'd still have those pictures. When I weigh myself on my scale, my data instantly shows up on my iPad, iPhone and desktop. Why should I wait until I can physically bring devices together just to sync data?

NFC for pairing devices, configuring remote controls and credit card payments is great. Synching data with it, while cool sounding, is not much of an improvement over IR or USB.

TTS was a prime reason why I changed from Sprint to ATT & got the Veer
the irony of this move is not lost on me, but I have been delighted with my Veer, though it rankles me that TTS has not been implemented yet with the Veer
such a cool feature should have been a priority for HP, but I suspect now the Veer will be a causality of HP's management fiasco
Meg has to know that mobile is the future of computing, but I don't believe she understands just how good Palm's WebOs is as a mobile platform
TTS was highly touted & a market motivator
this can't be all that hard to implement

so, someday veer will get that software update.?

Where this would really be nice is to share configurations between devices. Basically what you can do with save/restore manually by copying the files. Game states and RSS feeds are the main things I'd like to sync this way.