Android Smartphones Expected to Follow iPhone With Ultra Wideband Technology Starting Later This Year

Following in the footsteps of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, the first Android smartphones with Ultra Wideband technology will be released starting later in 2020, according to Barclays analysts.

In a research note obtained by MacRumors, the analysts said Android smartphones will be equipped with an all-in-one Ultra Wideband, NFC, and Secure Element chip introduced by Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors last year. It is unclear which Android smartphones will adopt Ultra Wideband first, but Samsung did join a consortium with NXP last year to help develop the technology.

iPhone 11 lineup features Ultra Wideband technology

In a press release last year, NXP said Ultra Wideband will give mobile devices several new and interesting capabilities, such as being able to unlock a car's doors when the device comes in close proximity of the vehicle, potentially foreshadowing a feature that could come to the iPhone down the road.

"With the SR100T, mobile devices will be able to communicate with connected doors, points of entry, and cars to open them once approaching," said NXP in a press release. "Lights, audio speakers, and any other connected device with UWB sensing capability will be able to follow users from one room to another, and smart connected technology will intuitively be embedded in people's lives."

iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max models are equipped with an Apple-designed U1 chip with Ultra Wideband, allowing the devices to understand their precise location relative to other nearby U1‑equipped Apple devices. On iOS 13, for example, there is a directional AirDrop feature where you can point an iPhone 11 at another iPhone user to instantly share files with them.

On its iPhone 11 Pro page, Apple teases that the directional AirDrop feature is "just the beginning" of what is possible with Ultra Wideband, adding that "amazing new capabilities" are coming later.

Last year, MacRumors uncovered evidence of Apple working on Tile-like item trackers in iOS 13 code. The so-called AirTags will also support Ultra Wideband, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, suggesting that iPhone 11 models will be able to locate the tags with precise accuracy in both indoor and outdoor areas.

MacRumors exclusive: Find My app with hidden "Items" tab for AirTags

The distance between two Ultra Wideband devices can be measured precisely by calculating the time that it takes for a radio wave to pass between the two devices, with much more accuracy than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi.

It is unclear when Apple plans to announce its item tracking tags, or if development of the product has been abandoned.

In any case, it appears that Ultra Wideband really is just getting started.

Top Rated Comments

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9 months ago


bringing ultimate laziness one step closer. Technology at its finest. It's just so hard to flip a switch or turn a key with that thing on the end of your arm called a hand

Completely unfair to equate convenience with laziness. Why don’t we just go back to manual car keys where you have to turn it to unlock it? Or car windows you have to wind down?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


I hope it's not abandoned and I sure hope this also comes to the Apple Watch. I would love to be able to open doors and unlock my car with my Apple Watch.

Right. Because the way we've been unlocking car doors the past 90 years is difficult. </sarcasm>

I, for one, have absolutely no need for this garbage. Others may. It's just more mishmosh and junk to manage as I constantly need to upgrade iOS and then the app...or I can't update the app without updating iOS (I've had this problem with bank apps and I stopped using them). Then the battery (on the other device) dies or needs charging. Blah blah blah.

What's next? Flush the toilet from my iPhone using the free iFlush app with ads? It's easy! Just swipe open your phone with your dirty finger, tap the iFlush app with your other dirty finger, watch the 15 second ad about 1/2 price colonoscopy screenings in your area, then choose which toilet you want to flush, then hold down the "drop" icon for 4 seconds to flush urine or hold down the "log" icon for 9 seconds to flush fecal matter. You can also spend $5.99 to rid the ads and be able to shake your iPhone 4 times for urine or 9 times for fecal.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


bringing ultimate laziness one step closer. Technology at its finest. It's just so hard to flip a switch or turn a key with that thing on the end of your arm called a hand

This is the dumbest thought process on this stuff.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


Right. Because the way we've been unlocking car doors the past 90 years is difficult. </sarcasm>

I, for one, have absolutely no need for this garbage. Others may. It's just more mishmosh and junk to manage as I constantly need to upgrade iOS and then the app...or I can't update the app without updating iOS (I've had this problem with bank apps and I stopped using them). Then the battery (on the other device) dies or needs charging. Blah blah blah.

What's next? Flush the toilet from my iPhone using the free iFlush app with ads? It's easy! Just swipe open your phone with your dirty finger, tap the iFlush app with your other dirty finger, watch the 15 second ad about 1/2 price colonoscopy screenings in your area, then choose which toilet you want to flush, then hold down the "drop" icon for 4 seconds to flush urine or hold down the "log" icon for 9 seconds to flush fecal matter. You can also spend $5.99 to rid the ads and be able to shake your iPhone 4 times for urine or 9 times for fecal.

That seems needlessly cynical. The way we've been unlocking car doors isn't difficult but requires a physical key that can get lost, stolen, forgotten, etc. Digitalizing more and more of our daily objects like keys, cards, IDs into the devices we use everyday, especially the phone, reduces clutter, increases convenience and safety. Do you also hate Apple Pay?




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That aside, shouldn't Apple have built UWB into AirPods Pro case at least? AirPods tracking isn't worth a damn and yet they are working on small tracking tags lol.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


bringing ultimate laziness one step closer. Technology at its finest. It's just so hard to flip a switch or turn a key with that thing on the end of your arm called a hand

What a clueless comment. I guess you would rather wind your car up to start it like the old days. Just because technology makes something easier does not automatically make you lazy for using it. It does make you lazy when you make a baseless comment like you did without first thinking about it.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


bringing ultimate laziness one step closer. Technology at its finest. It's just so hard to flip a switch or turn a key with that thing on the end of your arm called a hand

"People these days are so lazy!! We used to have to get up and walk over to the TV to change the channel!"

"My flip phone from 2007 can make a phone call. What do I need all of these other fancy schmancy features for?!"

Sorry, it's not a matter of laziness. Just because I think it'd be cool if my phone could automatically unlock my car door when I approach it doesn't mean I wouldn't be willing to use a key.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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