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Google could be working on UWB support for Pixel 6

UWB enables a host of features, but what does Google have in mind?

Published onMay 3, 2021

Google Pixel 5 Grey Back
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Google is reportedly working on UWB tech for what could be a Pixel 6 series phone.
  • UWB is already available in recent iPhones and Galaxy devices.
  • It allows for more precise location tracking and more seamless communication.

We’ve seen ultra-wide band (UWB) technology appear on several smartphones in recent times, such as Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy flagships. The technology enables more precise location tracking and communication, and now it looks like Google could be joining the party too.

Now, XDA-Developers editor-in-chief Mishaal Rahman (h/t: 9to5Google) has tweeted that Google is testing Android 12’s UWB API on a device code-named “Raven.” Rahman explains that Raven is the code-name of a Google silicon-powered next-generation Pixel.

The XDA representative wasn’t able to clarify whether Raven is the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 XL, or another Pixel device. There’s also no clarity on what Google has in mind for UWB. In saying so, 9to5Google has viewed open-source Android 12 code which shows the system can determine the distance and angle of approach between two UWB-based devices. It adds that UWB functionality is seemingly limited to system apps right now.

We’ve seen both Apple and Samsung releasing UWB-powered tracker tags, essentially being more accurate versions of Tile’s tracker tags. So it’s possible Google could release its own trackers too. But Samsung has also teamed up with car makers to enable UWB car keys.

Do you want your next phone to have UWB?

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Xiaomi also demonstrated UWB-powered smart home functionality in October 2020, allowing users to simply point their phones at a UWB-equipped smart home device to interact with it. In a neat touch, the device control menus on the phone automatically change depending on what smart home gadget your phone is pointed at. And with Google’s stable of smart speakers, smart displays, Nest security cameras, and more, UWB seems like a sensible addition for more seamless controls.

Do you want your next smartphone to have UWB tech? Let us know by voting in the poll above.

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