Last year, Google added a new API to AOSP to enable better support for ultra-wideband (UWB) devices. At the time, I learned that the API was limited to system applications only, which meant that it was not accessible to third-party applications. This is finally changing as developers can deploy UWB support to their applications with a newly launched Jetpack library. Jetpack Library version 1.0.0-alpha androidx.core.uwb can be used in an application to interact with UWB compatible devices such as Google Pixel 6 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus and Ultra.
This means that from now on, developers can interact with the UWB capabilities of the Android smartphone on which their applications are running, and it is no longer limited to system applications. Currently, the UWB API requires a device to run Android 12 or later, although almost all devices that have UWB probably already exist. UWB can use a low energy density for short distance measurements and can perform high bandwidth signaling over much of the radio spectrum.
Apple AirTags use UWB, so you can accurately identify them with your smartphone, and the first modern smartphone to support UWB was the iPhone 11. On the Android side, Samsung was the first to bring this technology to market with Galaxy Note. 20 and Note 20 Ultra smartphones. Xiaomi has also announced that it intends to integrate with UWB technology, showing how it intends to use the technology to control its smart home ecosystem.
As for why it’s being launched as an Android Jetpack library, there’s a reason for it. Development for Android can be a painful issue, given the annual launch cycle of the Google operating system and the changing API requirements for Google Play, and that’s it why we see Google keeping a set of support libraries under the “Android Jetpack” umbrella. It’s a set of Android components, tools, and guidelines inspired by the support of the previous version of the Support Library and the ease of use of Android architecture components.
Because the UWB library is in alpha, it may not yet have all the features that developers might still want. Developers should make sure they have read the developer documentation for this new library to make sure they understand how to use it.
Thanks Mishaal Rahman for the tip!
Source: Android Developer Docs, Jetpack Library
Via: Mishaal Rahman