Samsung is finally started to integrate support for digital car keys in its phones, after declaring ambitions for the feature during the Galaxy S21 launch. Samsung claims that support for ultra-wideband (UWB) and NFC-enabled digital car keys will first be available in South Korea and that it will only function with one vehicle, to begin with: the all-electric Genesis GV60.
Samsung promises “passive entry” on UWB-enabled devices like the Galaxy S21 Plus and Ultra, Note 20 Ultra, and Galaxy Z Fold 2 and 3 – meaning you can open and lock your car without taking your phone out of your purse or pocket. You’ll be able to start your car and change mirrors, seats, and other features with your phone nearby.
The digital keys are saved in Samsung Pass — and are safeguarded by an “embedded Secure Element (eSE)” — and can be shared with anyone running Android 11 who has the Samsung Pass app installed, according to Samsung. Currently, this means only having access to one model of automobile in one region, although Samsung has connections with Audi, BMW, and Ford. Hopefully, now that Genesis has broken the seal, those carmakers will add support as quickly as possible. Samsung has been approached by The Verge for information on when more automobiles and regions will be supported.
Also, because Samsung supports NFC for keys, users with older Galaxy phones running Android 11 should be able to participate. Samsung currently employs UWB and NFC on its phones for two major features: these digital car keys and the Galaxy SmartTag, which was launched in January. This puts it in line with Apple, which released iOS 14 with digital car keys supported by the U1 chip.
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