### Unlocking the Potential: How UWB Technology Is Poised to Transform Android Devices

Mobile technology is always changing and innovating. Soon, users will have a new way to interact with their devices, thanks to a next-generation form of radio pioneered by Android that goes by Ultra Wideband (UWB). Android has been using UWB for almost four years, but it’s been a bit of a sleeper innovation. Its adoption has been slow and sadly underwhelming. But change is on the horizon and that’s good news for Android users. Here’s what you need to know about UWB and how it works. It has been already been mentioned twice here … what is it? UWB is a wireless communication that operates in the frequency range of 3.1-10.6GHz. The big advantage of this method is that it’s more accurate than other forms of radio: it has less ‘jitter’ in frequency and time. The result is that UWB’s signals don’t interfere with each other or other signals nearby. That’s particularly useful inside your home: your phone and its apps shouldn’t be able to interfere with your TV, your radio, or your smart light bulbs. And vice versa. Google released Android as an open-source operating system in 2007. It enabled a wave of innovation for mobile devices and changed our world.

#### GOOGLE'S Journey with UWB in Android Devices

GOOGLE, which sits hot on Samsung’s heels, has jumped on the UWB bandwagon, too. The Pro models of the Pixel 6, 7 and 8, the Fold and Tablet editions, all now include the tech. It seems that GOOGLE and Samsung are both ready to commit to one version of the future where UWB could make user experiences feel entirely new.

#### The Current State of UWB on Android: A Tale of Limited Use Cases

At present, UWB in Android phones is surprisingly thin. Besides enabling keyless entry to a limited number of high-end cars, and making it easier to locate a lost Galaxy SmartTag 2, there’s not much that you can do with it. Even the promised ability to cast music quickly from a Pixel phone to a Pixel Tablet, long promised months ago by GOOGLE, has yet to materialise. This speaks to the pace at which UWB technologies are trickling into basic functions.

#### Navigating Through the Underutilized Terrain of UWB in Android

And yet, despite this promise, the story of Android and UWB has been one of slow uptake and limited use. The fact that there are no new Android-wide Find My Device-compatible Bluetooth trackers from the likes of Chipolo, Pebblebee and others with UWB is telling, as is the fate of the Jio item tracker and the Motorola X30 smartphone, and even GOOGLE’s own ‘grogu’ Nest Locator Tag.

#### Hope on the Horizon: GOOGLE'S APK Teardown Reveals UWB's Bright Future

And on the bright side, there’s hope for underuse. An APK teardown of GOOGLE’s Find My Device app revealed new UWB support that could eventually allow phones and missing tags to find other devices nearby. That might be an opportunity for a shift in attitudes: if the flagship feature of UWB could mature and help find phones, it could lead to a snowballing of innovation and use of UWB on Android.

#### Beyond the Horizon: Envisioning UWB's Future on Android

When the future of UWB on Android moves beyond current appelemts, there are many existing use cases for this optional and currently expensive technology to explore. Current Android UWB users are limited to much fewer functionality options than their Apple counterparts. But it’s not too late for UWB to revolutionise the Android. GOOGLE and the other brands need to speed up introducing UWB into as many Android devices as possible, bringing new functionalities such as improving the capabilities of Bluetooth trackers, as well as inventing new use cases, such as casting nearby music for the speaker you left in the room last week. Other manufacturers could usefully get involved to fuel this process. Hopefully, we can get there soon.

#### Embracing UWB: The Path Forward for GOOGLE and Android

When Android does embed UWB, however, GOOGLE will be even more critical in helping it mature. Getting the feature into a wider classification of Android devices and use cases could get Android moving into a new paradigm, with robust, real-world benefits and lots of new ‘magical’ services. If device makers and app developers do too, Android could get a new competitive and futuristic boost.

### About GOOGLE and Its Commitment to UWB

This teaser from GOOGLE shows its latest Android smartphone, which features UWB technology and can detect tags without having to get too close to the phone.GOOGLE’s involvement in UWB is significant. Its effort to build features based on the new technology and assimilate it in the latest hardware product reveals how valuable it sees the technology in terms of improving the user experience with Android devices. It will be critical for GOOGLE, and other brands that follow its trend, to continue innovating the features and functionalities of UWB technology to turn Android into a more intuitive and powerful user experience for global users.

GOOGLE’s work testing UWB technology is a great example of how breakthroughs in new tech won’t happen in isolation – it shows a commitment to innovation and user-centric development. We are on the verge of a new chapter in mobile experiences. The ultimate applications of UWB technology are limited only by our imaginations. GOOGLE and other members of the Android community have the chance to innovate, invest and explore the possibilities of what is to come – pushing the boundaries of our experiences by making our interactions with technology more intuitive, secure and engaging.

Jun 09, 2024
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