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How do you like to show off your holiday photos? You could upload them to a photo sharing site 5 Online Photo Sharing Sites Which Are Free Alternatives To Flickr 5 Online Photo Sharing Sites Which Are Free Alternatives To Flickr Read More like Flickr or Imgur and send your friends a link. Or you could gather your friends and have them huddle around your cell phone, as you swipe from picture to picture. If you’re old-school – like me – you might even share them via Bluetooth 6 Top Uses For Bluetooth On Your Android Phone 6 Top Uses For Bluetooth On Your Android Phone Bluetooth has been an impressive wireless technology to enable all sorts of cool functionality with multiple gadgets. While it was rather limited during the early stages of its life, Bluetooth has evolved to be capable... Read More . But there’s a better way, courtesy of Microsoft Xim.

This app – available for Android and Windows Phone, with iOS not far off on the horizon – allows you to share photos and slideshows with your friends, with them using their own devices. And unlike other photo sharing services, only one device needs to have the app installed for it to work.

Xim is a product concocted by the FUSE team within Microsoft Research; the curiously innovative wing of a company that is (rightly or wrongly) perceived by many to be stale and uncool. Other stuff of theirs you might be familiar with include recently unveiled analogue keyboard for Android smartwatches, as well as countless advances in the fields of artificial intelligence Microsoft vs Google - Who Leads the Artificial Intelligence Race? Microsoft vs Google - Who Leads the Artificial Intelligence Race? Artificial intelligence researchers are making tangible progress, and people are starting to talk seriously about AI again. The two titans leading the artificial intelligence race are Google and Microsoft. Read More , big data and immersive gaming that have been lauded in the technology press.

Surprisingly for a Microsoft app, Xim is incredibly quiet about its Redmond origins. Other than the name, nothing else about it indicates that it’s a Microsoft product. The only other app they’ve released in such a manner is Sway; a smartphone-based multimedia editing suite.

Curious about how Microsoft Xim works? Read on to find out how this incredible (and free) app can change how you share your photos.

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Using Microsoft Xim

Before we go ahead, it’s worth noting that Microsoft Xim only works with a small selection of Android devices. I was unable to get it running on my 2012 Nexus 7 Google Nexus 7 (16GB) Android Tablet Review and Giveaway Google Nexus 7 (16GB) Android Tablet Review and Giveaway We purchased a 16GB Nexus 7 for $249 which I've been reviewing for a week or so now, and I've really grown to love the little thing. We'll be giving it away at the end... Read More , or with my old Orange San Diego for that matter. When I tried to open it on my Blackberry Q10 (which supports most Android apps You Got Your Android In My Blackberry - How To Run Android Apps On Blackberry OS 10 You Got Your Android In My Blackberry - How To Run Android Apps On Blackberry OS 10 Before you side load your Blackberry device with your favorite Android app, there are a few things you need to know. Read More ), it immediately and unceremoniously crashed to desktop. This is an app that still is very much in the early beta stages.

Getting It Outside The US & Canada

You should also know that Xim is currently only available to users in the United States of America and Canada. If you’ve got an American phone number, but live outside of these regions, you can always manually download the APK 4 Useful Ways To Manage Your Android APK Files 4 Useful Ways To Manage Your Android APK Files Managing the Android APK files yourself means you get more support and flexibility. Read More and side-load it How to Manually Install or Side Load Apps on Android How to Manually Install or Side Load Apps on Android Sideloading a file onto your Android device is easy, and we can show you how to do it. Read More onto your device.

Log In With Phone Number & Name

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Once you’ve installed Xim, you’ll be prompted to log in. You’re first asked for your phone number, followed by your first and last name. This can be auto-populated from your Facebook account, if you’re short on time.

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Select Contacts & Create Photo Collections

You’re now at the home-screen, where you can create what Microsoft has dubbed Xims (apparently pronounced ‘zim’). These are little more than collections of photos, shared between specified contacts.

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To create one, you first must first select the contact which your Xims will be sent to. These can either be associated with a phone number or an email address.

xim-contacts

Once you’ve established which contacts you wish to share your photos with, you then must choose the photos you plan to share. These can be pulled directly from your device, or from Facebook, Instagram, OneDrive or Dropbox.

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Share Photos & Viewing Experience

Next, select the photo (or photos) that will be shared. A link will then be sent to the selected contacts, and you will be able to zoom, swipe and slide through the photos, with their devices keeping up with yours.

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If your contacts have Xim installed on their phones, they will be able to add and update the Xim. After a set period of time, all Xims expire and are deleted, much like Snapchat Send Self-Destructing Risqué Photos & Videos With Snapchat [iOS & Android] Send Self-Destructing Risqué Photos & Videos With Snapchat [iOS & Android] So you want to text someone a private flirty or goofy photo or video of yourself, but you know that images and videos can be shared and circulated on the Internet very quickly. Well it... Read More does.

Not Just For Selfies

Xim’s selling point is that you no longer need to crowd around a single phone when showing off your photos. I see Xim as having potential for much, much more.

I can see Xim being used in the classroom. It feels perfectly suited for teachers to share resources and materials, whilst simultaneously ensuring pupils keep up with the rest of the class and aren’t distracted. I can see it used in the battlefield to share critical intelligence How Technology May Be Influencing Human Evolution How Technology May Be Influencing Human Evolution There's not a single aspect of the human experience that hasn't been touched by technology, including our very bodies. Read More . I can see it in the boardroom for presentations. I can see it used in hospitals.

What do you think? Is Xim just a flash in the pan, or is it a useful tool you can see yourself using? Tell me about your thoughts in the comments box below.

  1. Steven Ickman
    October 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks for the nice review Matthew. Just wanted to let you and your readers know that the iOS version of Xim was published this morning so look for it in the App Store. We're also working to expand our Android support so more devices coming. And while Xim is currently limited to US & Canada that will change soon as well so stay tuned.

    We really appreciate all of the positive feedback and reviews our little app has gotten so far and as you said Matthew it is still very new. We have a lot of ideas and features coming down the pipe for Xim. We're always listening for feedback so if you have an idea, feature you'd like to suggest, or a bug to report just send them to us at ximtalk@microsoft.com.

    • Matthew Hughes
      October 19, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks so much Steven. I really enjoyed using Xim, and look forward to the next thing Fuse Labs does! You guys rock! :D

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