Google’s Android digital car key debuts on BMWs

In the first apps of Google’s Android digital car key, compatible BMW cars can now be unlocked, locked and started with select Android smartphones. With this launch, the BMW digital key, which is already available for the iPhone, is now available for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series equipped with Android, Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro, BMW and Google announced on Wednesday (December 1st).

With the BMW digital key on Android phones, customers hold the phone next to the driver’s door handle to unlock and lock the car. When they place the phone in the BMW wireless charging compartment, they can start the engine.

“To ensure maximum ease of use and security, the BMW digital key is stored on the secure element of the smartphone,” BMW said in a statement. Press release. “It can be easily configured via the My BMW app and is then available as an option for almost all BMW models.”

More capacity on the way

In the next release, the automaker said, customers will be able to share the key with up to five friends. In addition, a future version will add features based on Ultra Wideband.

While the BMW Plus digital key which is now available for the iPhone and uses Ultra Wideband is any guide, these features may include the ability to unlock, lock and start the car without having to hold the phone near the door handle or place it in the charging compartment – instead, customers can keep their phone wherever they normally carry it.

This is an ability that Google highlighted in a May 18 statement. blog post which announced the upcoming launch of the Android digital car key.

“By using Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology, you won’t even have to take your phone out to use it as a car key,” according to Google. “And for NFC-enabled car models, it’s as easy as leaning your phone on the car door to unlock it. Since everything is digital, you can also share your car key securely and remotely with your friends and family if they need to borrow your car.

Android Auto already on 100 million cars

In a December 1 blog post Announcing several new Android features, including the digital car key, Google said, “We also continue to introduce new ways to bring your phone and car closer together.”

Google only advertised BMW as a partner using the digital car key, but it has noted he also works with other car manufacturers. Android Auto is available in over 100 million cars, including most of the newer vehicles of around 60 brands worldwide.

BMW vehicles compatible with the digital key also come with a key card or key fob. Cautious drivers will take them as a backup in case their smartphone digital key encounters an issue like the one Tesla drivers recently encountered.

Read more: Tesla Drivers Learn What Happens When Connected Cars Encounter Software Crash

In this case, the digital keys did not work for a while due to software failure. However, users have reported experiencing issues in the past in underground parking lots and areas with lots of Wi-Fi connections that interfered with the app’s operation.

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