Last month at WWDC 2020 Apple introduced a new interface CarKey, which allows you to use the iPhone as a key for the car. It is based on the NFC technology, by which the smartphone connects to the car, and software algorithms that identifies the user and allows you to configure the virtual key as needed for a particular situation. By and large, nothing complicated, but to put this idea into life could only in Cupertino. But for Android to open the car with your smartphone is still possible, albeit with minor conventions.
For starters, perhaps I should explain what is the CarKey. Is this a software interface that makes the NFC module in the iPhone and Apple Watch to emulate a field characteristic of the wireless keys for the car. That is, in fact, the user captures an image of a key in the memory of the smartphone or smart watch, and then applies them to the door handle and is unlocked. CarKey is good because the user can still transmit the key to someone close to you via iMessage, after adjusting it right, for example, forbidden to start the engine or open the trunk.
What to replace CarKey for Android
Since CarKey is a system function, it is logical that on Android there is nothing in sight. Another thing is that this operating system has long offered the ability to turn smartphones into a virtual key for the car using a special application, which is quite a lot. There are both generic solutions and specialized, are only compatible with specific car brands through the technology of Blue Link. Here is a list of just some of them:
- Graco BlueLink
- Viper SmartStart
This is only part of the Android apps by which you can remotely unlock and lock the vehicle, track its status, control of leakage and fullness of fluids, receive notifications of problems and necessary to carry out the inspection, etc. unlike CarKey, they are all working from Bluetooth Low Energy, which is both their advantage and disadvantage.
What can virtual keys for Android
- Due to the range of a Bluetooth connection auto detects the driver’s smartphone for a few more meters, that is, to attach the device to the door handle for unlocking is not necessary;
- Thanks to the integrated memory system of the Parking spaces you will never lose your car even in the Parking lot near large stores like IKEA;
- With the app you can control all systems of the car, for example, to unlock a specific door, to remotely start the engine, adjust climate control, etc.;
- Available the ability to remotely stop the engine and lock it if the car was stolen (only available on cars with LTE);
- It is possible to send a virtual key to friends, provided they have installed the same app, and the smartphone supports Bluetooth Low Energy;
- The potential coverage of cars that can be unlocked this way via smartphone, much broader than those that support CarKey from Apple;
- If the smartphone battery runs out, open the car using the app for Android will be impossible, but the NFC can handle it once or twice;
- Due to the fact that for any driving available only through the app, any breakage, provoking his departure, will leave you without a vehicle.
Despite the fact that Google Play is available quite a lot of applications for a variety of cars, the manufacturers place some restrictions on their use. For example, the machine of the concern Hyundai Motor Group does not allow you to manage them using corporate applications on the basis of the BlueLink technology in Russia. Probably there are some workarounds to these limitations, but you can read a book on niche sites. At the same time, there are apps that work regardless of the country and actually allow us to replace CarKey Android users.
P. S. So not all that makes Apple copies Google and other competitors. It turns out that something, on the contrary, Apple is peeping at them.