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Best Technologies That Enable Digital Handoffs

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HP and Google are all trying to bridge the computing divide and bring us a more continuous computing existence from mobile to desktop.

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: ShutterstockJuggling multiple devices during the day is the plight of our current digital existence. When you move from your computer to a smartphone or a tablet there's always that sense of starting over and a disjointed workflow.

In an ideal computing existence, you'd be able to hit pause and pick up again from a different device. That fantasy world isn't here, of course, but companies are trying to get us there.

MORE: Can You Run a Business from a Smartphone?

Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HP and Google are all trying to bridge the computing divide and bring us a more continuous computing existence. Things are moving fast, but here's a look at where they stand now when it comes to getting stuff done without missing a beat.

Apple Continuity

Apple has touted its Continuity feature that debuted with OS X (now macOS) Yosemite and iOS 8.1. It's expanded since then to make your iPhone, iPad and Mac ever closer buddies. For example, phone calls can ring all your devices at once. Both iMessages and SMS conversations can be synced across all of them, so you can leave your phone on your desk if you need to text a colleague or relatives.

But this extends most powerfully with some of Apple's applications. For example, you can copy text from your Mac and paste it to your iPhone. The same works in reverse. Files saved to your desktop are available to grab on your iOS device thanks to iCloud Drive. If you're writing an email in the Mail app, you can continue right in the same place you left off on an iPhone or iPad. The key hangup for many is most of the best features are limited to Apple's applications. If you're not all-in with Apple's ecosystem, it's not quite as powerful.

Samsung Flow

Samsung seeks to build a similar type of continuum with its own devices. In fact, the company taps into Microsoft's Continuum feature to do so. If you have a Samsung smartphone and PC, the Samsung Flow app enables you to see all your phone's notifications on your computer. Many actions will require you to pick up your phone, but at least you got the message.

Microsoft's Continuum feature can go deeper, however. An example is the HP Elite X3 smartphone, which is essentially transforms into a Windows PC when connected to a monitor. It offers a rather fluid experience for those who are heavy Office users, as all your files can quickly be accessed through the device or OneDrive.

Android and Chrome

Google offers a fit methods of connectivity for Android device and Chromebooks. You can use an Android device to unlock a Chromebook with Smart Lock. Chrome also syncs your tabs, so you can load up something from another device that you want to read or work on.

The main method for a digital handoff, however, is by working within Google's ecosystem. You can pick up right where you left off with Google Docs, inside of Gmail, or with other Google apps. It's not quite as seamless as the Handoff features with Apple, but there's a larger array of services that sync across your Google account.

Security concerns

What does this type of connectivity mean for security? The HP Elite X3 addresses some of this with an integrated iris and fingerprint scanner. Less devices means less ways that someone can gain access to your content.

On the Apple front, the company relies on its Apple Push Notification (APN) service to keep things secure. This is a similar type of security to iMessage, creating a symmetric 256-bit AES key.

The main key to security when working across devices is to ensure that your Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, or Google account is secure whenever you're sharing information across devices. Using a strong password and two-factor authentication are essential for keeping your cloud data safe as it zips from one device to another.