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Samsung relies on UWB for next-generation wireless technology

Illustration for an article entitled What is UWB and why are Apple and Samsung suddenly interested in it?

Photo: Sam Rutherford

Wifi, Bluetooth and NFC are validated specifications in modern smartphones and if Samsung has its way, UWB will be next.

Samsung Cpicked up Ttechnology OKJ Kim outlined Samsung’s opinion on UWB, or Ultra-Wideband,, on company website, describing it as a transformative technology that can help facilitate wireless data transfer, upgrading smart home technology through features like Samsung’s upcoming digital keyand even help with internal navigation.

Like Bluetooth, UWB is a short-range wireless communication protocol based on radio waves. However, in contrast Bluetooth, UWB supports much higher data transfer speeds and, more importantly, it allows precise tracking and detection of the environment, which can allow the device to recognize and map its immediate surroundings.

As early as 2018, Samsung helped create the FiRa consortium in partnership with NXP and HID Global (which have since been expanded to include 45 different organizations) to explore and promote various UWB applications. E.earlier this fall, Samsung has released its first two phones equipped with UWB: on Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 2. Samsung mainly uses UWB to improve the nearby sharing feature of Android (which is the equivalent of Apple’s Android AirDrop) and increase the speed and accuracy of sending files wirelessly to other devices. The company The SmartThings Find function is also getting the ability to generate an AR display to help you find other Galaxy devices around your house.

In the near future, Samsung plans to use UWB with smart home devices as smart locks via Digital Key to communicate faster and more securely than you can with current wifi or Bluetooth implementations. And looking ahead, Samsung and other device manufacturers hope to use UWB to support indoor mapping features that could potentially guide you. to certain shops or pavilions in places such as a mall.

Now I have to mention that Samsung is not the only company thinking in this direction, because apart from FiRa Cosortium, companies like Xiaomi plan to use UWB to connect to a wide range of smart home devices, including fans, air purifiers, roboticvacuums, etc.

And, of course, there is Apple. The iPhone 11 launched mainly with UWB to facilitate AirDrop transfers. UWB is also expected to play a big role in Apple rumors AirTagswhich according to reports to help you find lost devices, especially those that may not be connected to Bluetooth or wifi. A new rumors suggest that the new HomePod Mini (which is expected to be announced later this week) will support UWB to track your location and the location of other devices with a U1 chip (which Apple uses to add UWB support to its devices) and connect to other multimedia devices and smart home gadgets, while potentially adding HomeKit support to certain products.

An important note: tit uses UWB in different products from Samsung and Apple is not the same as Verizon’s 5G UWB network, as UWB 5G is simply Verizon’s trademark for its mmWave 5G mobile service. (Confusing, I know.)

While companies are still figuring out how to really maximize UWB’s capabilities, that’s the way it is should be an important addition to the wireless capabilities of modern gadgets. It is a potential replacement for certain features that currently rely on Bluetooth, which, as we all know, often suffers from a wide range of security holes.

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