Samsung 'Flow' Hands-On: A Continuity Clone for Samsung Devices

By Darren Orf on at

Samsung wants to let you sling things across all your devices – webpages, phone calls, and plenty more. Wouldn't it be great if you could hop seamlessly from one device to the next? And doesn't that idea sound familiar?

The concept is basically torn from Apple's Yosemite playbook, specifically "Continuity", that family of inter-device features that includes Handoff and lets you take calls on your Mac. (The idea's been kicking around longer than that, though). So far, it looks like Samsung will be pushing its Continuity clone a little bit further than Apple in some places but not nearly enough in others.

Samsung breaks Flow down into three categories: Transfer, Defer, and Notify. Transfer lets you read, work and move calls among different Samsung devices seamlessly. Defer lets you hold off on whatever you're working on until later (to also be picked up on another device if you wish), and Notify makes any Flow-enabled television, PC, tablet or smartwatch display notifications and text messages, so you can keep track of your social life even when you're knee-deep in that shameful day-long Netflix marathon.

We just got to try an early build of Flow for ourselves and it's actually fairly clever. Any app that plays nice with Android's share dialogue can send things to Flow, which can then pass them along to any other Flow-enabled device that's paired via Bluetooth.

Not only can it send the webpage you're viewing, but also your scroll depth, so you can pick up reading more or less right where you left off in an article. You can send Yelp links, Google Maps destinations and plenty more, just so long as the receiving device has a way to open the content you send, or simply Defer it for later, which will add it to a list of items that instantly sync between all your Flow devices. It's kind of like Pocket or synced browser tabs, but for everything — not just stories you don't have time to read right now. (We weren't able to try handing off calls, though.)

Still, it's not clear how much Samsung wants to share this idea with the Android world at large. In the end this could be a godsend for the poor person with the world's largest Samsung gadget collection, but not much good for anyone else. But hey, if it can help even two of your gadgets talk to each other, that's better than nothing. [Samsung ThinkTank]