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Your Android Phone May Soon Double As a Digital Car Key

Android Digital Car Key

Google is getting ready to release Android 12 to the masses, and buried in the release alongside an upcoming Google Play Services update, the folks at XDA Developers found digital car key support for Android. Back in May, Google announced that it would join Apple in letting folks unlock cars with an Android phone, and now it looks like the release is right around the corner.

To be clear, Google wants to add on-device storage of digital car keys and driver’s licenses to select Pixel and Samsung phones.

In a teardown of the latest Google Play Services update (v21.39.15), XDA Developers found multiple new additions related to the previously announced Digital Car Key functionality. Unfortunately, we still don’t know too much about it, like if it’ll allow users to start the ignition on top of unlocking vehicles or when/if it’ll be released.

Keep in mind that just because a teardown of the update found evidence of the feature, that doesn’t mean it’s ready for a release or that it’ll be released at all. Instead, it looks like Google is simply making changes and preparing for it.

That said, with the Pixel 6 and Android 12 both coming in the next few weeks, there’s a good chance Google will announce a helpful feature like digital car keys alongside it.

Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock

According to the report, Android’s Digital Car Keys feature will use NFC to help unlock a vehicle. However, the announcement earlier this year mentioned both NFC and Ultra-wideband (UWB) RF technology. So there’s a chance Google could start with NFC, so owners could tap their phone to a car door to unlock it instantly, then add UWB at a later date.

The code also suggests that the feature will only support selected mobile devices, select vehicles and only work in specific regions at first. However, Google will likely expand support to more devices and areas later.

via XDA Developers

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »