If you own an Android phone and a BMW car, there might have been a point in time when you wished that your phone could unlock your vehicle similar to how iPhones are able to. Worry not though, as it looks like this is about to change soon.
More specifically, BMW recently announced that its Digital Key Plus feature will be adding support for Android smartphones, adding to the feature’s pre-existing compatibility with iPhones. Users with Samsung and Google phones will soon be able to lock, unlock, and start their car engine in a very convenient manner.
This feature works using using ultra-wideband technology (UWB). Simply put, UWB is a wireless technology designed for close range use with high bandwidth, which allows for very precise localisation with improved security for users. UWB’s better precision also ensures that the incident of relay attacks, (such as when radio signals is jammed or intercepted) is drastically reduced.
This feature will let users setup their cars to unlock once they approach them, or lock behind them as they exit the vehicle and move further away. It also lets drivers start their car remotely. According to BMW’s official announcement post:
“The BMW Group worked in collaboration with key partners like Google to develop the corresponding specification with partners and established it as a global standard for the automotive industry via the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC). The CCC is the global driving force for vehicle connectivity for all smart mobile devices.”
With that being said though, the Digital Key Plus feature will not be available for any Android phone out there. Currently, BMW has enabled the feature to work with a select few Samsung and Google devices, which include the following phones:
- Galaxy S23+
- Galaxy S23 Ultra
- Galaxy S22+
- Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Galaxy S21+
- Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Galaxy Z Fold4,
- Galaxy Z Fold3,
- Galaxy Note20 Ultra
- Pixel 7 Pro
- Pixel 6 Pro
In the case of the Samsung phones, the digital key will only work with units in regions with Samsung Wallet, including Bahrain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Qatar. Phones using Digital Key Plus must also be on Android version 13.1 and up.
Furthermore, users will be able to share digital keys with up to five other users. BMW adds that a future update will expand the capability to Digital Key Plus-capable vehicles produced before November 2022.