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Apple unveiled its “Hand-Off” and “Continuity” features at WWDC this past summer, which allows users to pick up tasks on their iPhones or iPads where they left off on their Mac computers, and vice versa. The feature was such a great idea that I immediately hoped that something similar would make its way to Android – and as it turns out, the folks at Nextbit were listening when they built Baton.

The company – which is comprised of former Android, Google, Amazon, Dropbox, and HTC professionals – demonstrated Baton at the Re/code Mobile event this week, which will eventually offer Android users the same kind of continuity features Apple users are enjoying between OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.

Tom Moss, Nextbit’s CEO and former Android executive, offered this statement on the potential of Baton:

“Whether I’m reading an article, playing a game, or buying something online, everything comes to a halt if I want to switch devices. Until now, there hasn’t been a good way to pick up a tablet at the same place you left off on your smartphone. Our mobile activities shouldn’t just be available on a per device basis. That’s why Nextbit is building a future that focuses on the experiences, not the device.”

Baton will provide three main features: Sync, Pass, and Backup & Restore. Sync will ensure that apps and data will be in the same state across multiple devices, while Pass will give users the ability to “send any open app in its current state to another device, saving time and eliminating the tedious process of manually finding and opening apps on different devices.”

Backup & Restore, meanwhile, is exactly what it sounds like. If you don’t have access to your smartphone or tablet – or, if they were swiped or lost – you’ll be able to access backups via your Nextbit profile, stored in the cloud.

Nextbit has announced that it’s conducting a private beta on CyanogenMod, an Android-based operating system favored by tech-savvy mobile users who have rooted handsets, not to mention the OnePlus One smartphone, which runs CyanogenMod natively. When Baton eventually hits its public launch, explains a post on CNET, it’ll be baked into the Android operating system itself. As such, Nextbit is working directly with OEMs (and presumably Google, whose Google Ventures initiative has provided financial backing) to bring Baton to users in the not-too-distant-future.

Interestingly, it’s possible that Google is working on similar continuity features on its own – or may eventually acquire Nextbit for that very purpose. When the company announced the Nexus Player set top box, it claimed that users would be able to start games on the Player and pick up where they left off on an Android smartphone or tablet. I’m curious to see how well this works, but if the Nexus Player can already pull off a trick like that for games, there’s little reason to doubt doing the same with other apps might not be too out of the question.

[Sources: Nextbit, CNET]


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