Near the end of a 90-minute press conference announcement about its new P30 smart phone in Paris earlier today, and just before announcing a pearl pink glamour case embedded with Swarovski crystals, Huawei CEO Richard Yu mentions that the new phone is constructed to work as an entry key for your car. While it would be great to not have to carry around a bulky key fob every day, there remain some bugs in the system to work out.
Where most car key fobs work with a button for lock and unlock, the Huawei system replaces that with the need to press your phone up against the door handle for it to unlock. You save the signature of your car’s key into your phone, and then you can leave the keys at home. Yu also mentions that the phone can unlock your home doors or office doors in a similar fashion if so equipped.
Huawei says the P30 already works as a car key on a number of new Audi products, with BMW coming soon and several other manufacturers on the docket for connection.
The first thing that springs to my mind is the fact that phones can die. If you aren’t prepared with a charging cord or Qi charger nearby, you might be locked out of your automobile until you can find a way to get some juice.
Another potential problem is the disconnect between car tech and phone tech. There are two highly technologically advanced items that are designed to talk to each other, but what if they have a communication breakdown? Sometimes my iTelephone has a breakdown and needs to be rebooted. I’d hate to have to do that in the parking lot on a rainy day.
This video depicts how the technology is supposed to work. Just slide up to your Audi—which appears to be a Q8, based on the frameless windows and roof height—and tap your phone on the handle. Voila. Easy.
Or is it?
It’s just embarrassing watching the demonstration attendant snatch the phone and do the same exact thing the patron had been trying just moments before. I just can’t wait to fiddle with my door locks and my phone on a cold winter night. I’ll stick with my ancient cars and analog keys, please and thank you. No need to disrupt this process.