May 3rd, 2021

One of the new hardware features that we can probably expect to see in future smartphones would probably be ultra-wideband. This feature first made an appearance in Apple’s iPhones before it was eventually adopted by Samsung, and now a tweet by XDA’s Mishaal Rahman claims that Google’s Pixel 6 could adopt it as well.

According to Rahman’s tweet, he has learnt that Google is apparently testing support for Android 12’s UWB API on a device codenamed “Raven”, which has been speculated to be the codename for the next-gen Pixel phone (the Pixel 6, not the Pixel 5a 5G). Not much is known about the feature on the Pixel 6 for now and what Google plans to use it for, but several purposes do come to mind.

It is possible that just like what Apple and Samsung have done, Google could also be interested in creating their own tracking accessory. Given that Google has a very tightly integrated ecosystem akin to that of Apple, it would actually make sense. Alternatively, they could also leverage the UWB technology for similar features like pairing phones with Google Home or Nest devices just by bringing the phone close to the object, like how the iPhone can pair with the HomePod mini in the same way.

It will be interesting to see if Google will be able to use the technology in new and novel ways apart from the more obvious, but if it is a feature designed for the Pixel 6, we’ll probably have to wait until later in the year to find out more.

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