Technology Android 12 is getting a digital car key feature

03:10  19 may  2021
03:10  19 may  2021 Source:   engadget.com

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Android 12 brings new digital car key feature which will allow select phones to unlock cars using just their phone via NFC or UWB. The feature is initially coming to BMW cars but we can expect other manufacturers to adopt the feature . Earlier this year at the Galaxy S21 launch event, Samsung announced a similar functionality. The company then said it is partnering with car companies including Audi, BMW, Ford, and Genesis to bring keyless entry using smartphones.

The digital car keys will lock, unlock, and start the car from select Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones. Starting later this year, this feature will be available in new BMW models. Google is hoping to bring the experience to other carmakers eventually. That's your car key . For cars with NFC tags built into the doors, you can tap the phone to unlock. For other cars with ultra-wideband (UWB) communication you just need to have the phone nearby and it'll work. Apple announced the same phone-as-a- car - key feature last year — also for new BMW vehicles.

Last year, Apple announced CarKey, a way to unlock your car with your iPhone. Today, Google is following suit — the company just announced that Android 12 will include digital car key technology that lets you lock, unlock and start your car. Google says that the feature will use Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology so that you can unlock your car without even removing your phone from your pocket — provided, of course, that your phone has a UWB chip. If not, NFC will let you unlock a car by tapping your phone. You can also share your virtual car key with family and friends if they need access to your vehicle, as well.

a close up of a cell phone a person holding a sign: Android digital car key © Google Android digital car key

Google says that digital car keys will become available later this year on "select" Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones, but we don't know what models they have in mind yet. But no Pixel phones yet have used UWB technology — maybe with this new car key feature, the Pixel 6 will be the first. Apple is using UWB in the iPhone 11 and 12 series of phones, enabling things like AirTags, improved handoff features between the iPhone and HomePod mini and the aforementioned CarKey feature, among other things.

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However, the move by Google to build digital car key access directly into Android 12 opens up the feature to a wealth of new devices and users. Apps such as Spotify, Google Maps and Google Assistant are available on Android Auto, and can provide you with enhanced levels of control and richer features than some infotainment systems. However, one of its limitations is that in many vehicles you have to physically plug your Android smartphone into your car with a USB cable to get Auto to work.

Android 12 is just around the corner. With its third developer preview here, we This will let the firm push key updates to ART and other essential Android 12 services through These are the confirmed Android 12 features as showcased by the three developer previews. In a leaked Android 12 build, you could hold down the power button for an extended period of time to get a Google Assistant prompt.

a close up of a cell phone: Android 12 digital car key © Google Android 12 digital car key

Naturally, automakers will need to enable this feature and cars will need the technology to support it, so it'll be a little while before it's commonplace to unlock your car with your phone. As with Apple's CarKey technology, BMW is the first partner Google has announced, but the company says it is working with other unnamed automakers as well.

Google also announced a feature that should be more immediately useful. The company's Fast Pair technology that makes it quicker to connect to Bluetooth devices is coming to cars from BMW and Ford. Hopefully, this will make paring your phone with a car as simple as it is pairing it to Google's Pixel Buds headphones — getting your phone hooked up to most cars is definitely a bigger hassle than it should be.

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