Chances are your smartphone has already replaced your wallet (I rarely pull out my debit card when I make a purchase) and then it will come for your car keys. In january, Samsung announced its “digital key” feature alongside the Galaxy S21 for any UWB-equipped smartphone, but we haven’t heard much about it since. With the arrival of the October security update, the company has finally returned with some integration.
As seen by TizenHelp, the latest security patch for Galaxy S21 series provides digital key support for S21 + and S21 Ultra. Once updated, users can add a support key to Samsung Pass, though we’ll have to keep waiting to find out which makes and models are currently active. In January, Audi, BMW, Ford and Genesis were among the companies initially said to be compatible, but specific models have yet to be detailed. Digital keys use a combination of NFC and UWB to unlock cars and even start the engine.
Samsung had promised that the car keys would arrive on the S21 in August, after the house keys in July, although none of the services were delivered on time. As far as I know, car keys have outperformed S21 house keys, presumably because there are so many more drivers than there are smart lock owners in the world today. Meanwhile, in May, Google announced digital key support built into Android 12, with plans to bring it to Pixels and Samsung phones this fall. Samsung Pass should be part of the company’s plans for this feature in the future.
Although the October patch is coming to international phones starting today, this particular feature is limited to South Korea for now, with firmware ending in “AUIG” instead of “AUIE.” The digital key should soon reach the European markets in the United States.