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iPhone 11's Ultra Wideband Technology Coming to Android Devices This Year

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The Apple iPhone 11 might not be host to a lot of new features per se, but it did come with an interesting new piece of tech. It comes with support for ultra wideband technology, which Apple says gives its newer handsets “spatial awareness” to understand where compatible devices are located. It can be used to share files wirelessly with other iPhones or to find objects that you have ‘tagged’. All you need to do is stick an NFC tag on the object and you’ll be able to find it using an app on your iPhone. Now, reports indicate that a future Samsung device could come with the same functionality.

There are no specifics about just which device will the tech debut in, but it is very likely going to be one from Samsung. The company that makes these chips —NXP— did a consortium with Samsung. NXP added in a press release:

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With the SR100T, mobile devices will be able to communicate with connected doors, points of entry, and cars to open them once approaching. 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.

Ultra wideband tech can also help measure distance between compatible objects and bring spatial awareness and relative positioning among multiple devices both indoor or outdoor. It will reportedly work even in crowded environments and multipath signal environments with numerous walls, people, and other obstacles. The distance between two devices can be measured by calculating the time that it takes for a radio wave to pass between the two devices. It is far more accurate than the results obtained from methods that employ Wi-Fi or Bluetooth LE.

Ultra wideband tech will allow Samsung to develop its version of AirDrop; something that Android desperately needs. Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi tried their hand at it, but their solution works on Wi-Fi hotspots rather than UWB communication.

Products mentioned in this post

iPhone 11

iPhone 11
USD 819

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