Thank You, Apple: More Android Phone Makers Planning Upgrade to Replace Car Keys

Apple was the first to turn its phones into car keys 1 photo
Photo: Apple
UWB appears to be the next big thing in the mobile industry, with more and more companies reportedly interested in equipping their phones with such capabilities.
According to a recent report, companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are already planning UWB upgrades for their phones, with flagships likely to get it as soon as this year.

Ultra-wide band, or UWP, allows for a wide variety of applications based on short-range radio transmission, and Apple was the first company to bring it to the mobile industry by allowing the iPhone to turn into a car key.

The Cupertino-based tech giant has already signed a partnership with BMW in this regard; of course, UWB can also be used for other capabilities, including location-based smart trackers.

On the other hand, Apple rival Samsung announced UWB support on the Galaxy S21 earlier this month, once again to allow the smartphone to play the role of a car key. The South Koreans are already working with Audi, BMW, Ford, and Genesis for such capabilities, and the launch should take place by the end of the year.

After Apple and Samsung, now more Android device makers aim for the whole thing, with UWB thus expected to become a common feature in the mobile market rather sooner than later.

Of course, while the expansion of UWB in the mobile industry is gaining pace, we still need a compatible car to leave the traditional car keys behind. As you can see, only a handful of carmakers are currently in talks to bring such capabilities to their models, so we’re probably still several years away from the moment when locking and unlocking a vehicle with the phone becomes mainstream.

In the meantime, Samsung and its partners are expected to share more information on their UWB collaboration by the summer. The first cars supporting the Galaxy S21 are likely to go on sale later this year.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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