Since 2018, all Google’s Pixel phones have included the Titan M chip. This is the so-called security element (SE). Separate from the phone’s processor, it can perform operations such as storing encryption keys and verifying the operating system. Now, Google sees Titan M and other similar Secure Elements as the key to bringing features such as digital passports and ID cards to Android phones.
To this end, the company established the Android Ready SE Alliance (via 9to5Google), which is composed of SE vendors and device manufacturers to accelerate the adoption of these features in Android.
They will jointly create a collection of open source and ready-to-use applets for SE chips. The organization has launched its first applet using StrongBox, a tool for storing encryption keys.
The company said: “We believe that the SE provides the best way to introduce these new consumer use cases in Android.”
Shortly, the alliance will focus on use cases such as digital car keys and mobile driver licenses. On the first point, Google is catching up with Apple.
One day, this technology could enable features such as ePassports. Google did not mention the digital vaccine passport, but this is another potential use case for the technology.
Although mobile phones and tablets are an obvious starting point, this is only the beginning. As pointed out by Google, StrongBox can also be used on WearOS, Android Auto, and Android TV devices.
At the same time, the company said that “several” Android manufacturers have adopted Android Ready SE for their devices.