Google I/O 2021 is underway, and while we’ve seen a lot surrounding the world of Android 12 and its major redesign, there’s much more to come. One such announcement involves using your phone for practically anything that you can think of.
With Google Fast Pair, you can use your Pixel Buds (or compatible headphones) to quickly and easily pair those earbuds with your Android phone of choice. It’s similar to what we see with Apple and its pairing process for AirPods and Beats by Dre headphones, but just for Android. During today’s keynote, Google announced that Fast Pair has been used almost 40 million times to connect their Android phones with various Bluetooth accessories from the likes of Microsoft, Sony, and many more.
But over the course of the next few months, Google is also bringing Fast Pair to even more devices. This includes headphones from Beats, along with cars from BMW and Ford. With a single tap, you’ll be able to pair your phone to your car’s infotainment system, without going through the strenuous and annoying Bluetooth pairing process of the old days.
Speaking of bringing Fast Pair to cars, Google announced some love for Android Auto and Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology. With more than 100 million cars using Android Auto already, Google has a winner when it comes to finding the best car infotainment systems while keeping your eyes where they belong and not fiddling around with your phone. The company also announced that car brands like GM, Ford, and Honda will be bringing more support for Android Auto wireless to cut the cord.
Rounding out today’s Android Auto announcement was a rather major one for those who have been hoping to use their phone to unlock their cars. Google announced that with the UWB chip and technology, this will be coming to select cars start later this year. At launch, it will be available for Pixel and Samsung Galaxy owners, provided that those devices have UWB already built-in (such as the Samsung Galaxy S21).
Digital car keys will be the wave of the future, as you’ll only need to tap your phone on the car door in order to unlock it. Provided that the car model is NFC-enabled, you can securely and remotely share your car key(s) with friends and family if they ever need to borrow your car. As for what models are compatible, there aren’t any available just as of yet, but Google confirms that they are working with BMW and other car makers to bring this to future cars.