The BMW Group has announced that its Digital Key Plus system has now been launched for select smartphones running Google’s Android OS.

From today, BMW customers with compatible Samsung or Google devices will be able to use them to lock or unlock their BMW and start the engine. The feature was made available first on Apple devices in 2021, and can now be set up on the Samsung Galaxy S23+/Ultra, the Google Pixel 7 Pro, and a number of older models with suitable hardware.

With Digital Key Plus, the vehicle reacts automatically when approached or receded in the same way as a traditional key. Depending on the vehicle’s equipment, the feature also executes the same orchestrated light play of the front and rear lights, alongside the light carpet, seen when using the physical key. Its functionality works by leveraging ultra-wideband (UWB), a digital radio technology for close range with high bandwidth, that leverages precise localization to maximize security. This precision further ensures that the risk of a relay attack, where the radio signal is jammed or intercepted, is virtually eliminated.

In bringing the feature to Android, the BMW Group worked alongside Google to develop the corresponding specification with partners, while establishing the broader system as a global standard for the industry with the Car Connectivity Consortium. Through this work, the Group is aiming to offer digital vehicle access for all customers – irrespective of their smartphone’s operating system.

For BMW’s customers, Android compatibility is available on vehicles offering Digital Key Plus manufactured from November 2022. In the future, a remote OTA software upgrade will expand its reach to vehicles built before November 2022.