BMW is now bringing its “Digital Car Key Plus” service to Android on select Pixel and Samsung phones to let users lock/unlock their cars with just their smartphones as soon as they get in close proximity to the car. The feature was previously only available on iPhones and the Apple Watch.
Currently supported devices include Galaxy S23+, S23 Ultra, S22+, S22 Ultra, S21+, S21 Ultra, Z Fold 4, Z Fold 3 and Note 20 Ultra (in markets supporting Samsung Wallet). As far as Pixel devices are concerned, only the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro are supported. All supported devices need to be running Android 13.1 or later.
As for what BMW cars will support the system, only models produced after November 2022 are compatible with the tech. However, a software update releasing soon will enable support for older models.
The user needs to have the My BMW app on compatible vehicles. The feature also lets users share the digital car key with up to five friends or family members if they have a supported compatible Android or iOS device. The feature also brings additional functionality such as Express Mode, which allows users to lock or unlock and start their vehicles without unlocking their phone, even up to five hours after the phone’s battery has completely drained.
The Digital Key Plus system works using ultra-wideband which has only recently started showing up on Google and Samsung phones over the last couple of years. According to BMW, their goal is to offer digital vehicle access for all customers, “irrespective of the operating system of the smartphone they use”, hence the expansion into Android devices.
As of December 2022, the BMW Group has launched a further expansion stage for Digital keys working with partners like Apple and Google allowing for secure, cross-platform sharing of digital keys between compatible iPhone and Android devices via email, SMS or any other messaging service.
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