After the Indian government’s decision to ban 59 apps with Chinese links citing “emergent threats” to the country’s national security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced the app innovation challenge to encourage homegrown startups to create world-class apps.
And since then, the focus has shifted to made-in-India alternatives.
Dodo Drop, a file sharing app developed by 17-year-old Ashfaq Mehmood Choudhary from Chattyear of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, aims to replace SHAREit, which allows file sharing without internet.
According to media reports, Ashfaq created the app in a month’s time as he felt users were facing a lot of problems due to the ban of apps like SHAREit.
Dodo Drop enables file sharing such as audio, video, images, and even texts between two devices without internet, and at a much higher speed.
It is worth noting that Jammu & Kashmir has been getting restricted internet connectivity for about a year now. Besides that, internet shutdown is common in the region. Internet Shutdown Tracker, a portal which tracks internet shutdowns across the country, reports that India saw an overall of 100 shutdown incidents between 2019 and March 2020.
Ashfaq says, the data transferred through Dodo Drop is completely secure and encrypted. The app has 4.8 rating on Google Play store, and has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. Let’s take a look at the ‘Made in India’ app and see if we can share files with ease or not.
Let us explore the app
Once you download the app, the page has an arrow sign on the bottom right, which directs you to go to the ‘setup’ page. You will have to allow the app to read and write the phone’s storage for receiving and sharing files. The user has to then setup a profile name, followed by some ‘customisation’ options such as choosing Dark Mode for the app. The login process is done in just four taps and the app is ready to use.
Dodo Drop’s homepage is also quite user friendly. A strip in the bottom has a send and receive option, and a lower strip has transfers and file explorers. However, the most interesting option is the ‘text stream’ (more on that later), which SHAREit did not have.
How to use?
One has to switch off the mobile data to use the app. If you are sending files, then select the send option, choose a file, and link with the other device, and then the person who wants to receive it follows the same process under the ‘receive’ tab.
It is not just images and videos, but Dodo Drop allows one to transfer apps as well. Users can also add and link with few trusted devices by going into the ‘manage devices’ option on the top left drop-down menu. While sending a file, you can also preview the audio, video, and photo.
However, the most interesting part of the app is that it lets you exchange texts. The process is similar to sending a file, but you just have to type the text on the app. This could be a great feature if the user is in a no network zone and wants to exchange information.
Dodo Drop claims it has a transfer rate of up to 480 mbps, and that it is 200 times faster than Bluetooth technology. For instance, if we send a 4.6 MB video via Bluetooth, it will take around 30 seconds to transfer; and on WhatsApp, it takes around 10-15 seconds. We also tried to transfer a 300 mb file, and it took about 25-30 seconds. Dodo Drop claims the same file takes less than five seconds on the app, which is impressive.
However, the downside is that while the app can share files from a laptop and iOS device, when we tried sharing a file to the laptop, it did not work. And the app does not give any direction how it is done. Even getting the first few files transferred to another Android mobile device was not so smooth as the app does not give any initial directions or steps about its use.
Besides this, the app has a QR code to send and receive files, but it did not work either. We tried scanning the QR code several times, but the app on both the devices did not read each other.
If you have not used an app of this nature, then it may take some time to get a hang of it. But once you do, then it is extremely easy.
Even some of its users echo the same. They say the speed is superb, but the app needs to give more assistance/instructions for transferring files. The users say that after clicking the ‘send’ option, they did not know they had to click ‘receive’ on the other device, and the error message was not so clear. Another user said the speed of the app stands out, and that he was able to send a 1 GB file in just 2.5 minutes, but the user added that the app is not handy and the design is disappointing.
It is important for us to first understand the need for a file sharing app. Various social media users are of the opinion that despite internet and having a plethora of options to share files, they still want an app or a platform dedicated to tasks like sharing files. Dodo Drop just fits the bill as it helps users share large files, multiple files together, offers file format support, helps to maintain privacy, etc.
Dodo Drop also comes to our rescue in remote areas as it works even without internet connectivity. India seems like a huge market for file sharing apps owing to low internet data in smaller towns and internet shutdowns in states like J&K.
SHAREit reportedly had about 500 million users, and about 20 percent consisted of users from India till recently. For these users, this ‘made in India’ app has come as a great alternative. The app competes with homegrown apps like BharatShare, Share ALL, JIOSwitch, SFT, and Smart Share.
The app also fits Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call for ‘Vocal for Local’ and Aatmanirbhar Bharat, as it contributes to his vision.
The app is really good to use and has good speed. However, we feel the app can have stepwise directions to make the process easier for its users. The initial two-three file transfers might be a little difficult, but it can be done in a snap later. Since the app is just a month old, we feel it is still a work in progress. Going forward, we can expect more upgradations to the app, making it easier and better for the users.