Google likes to make equity A alliances. Pretty infamous. But the latter could actually mean something, as it’s trying to bring together cooperative hardware and software partners for many emerging security technologies, enabling hardware-based encryption for things like digital keys, secure documents, and wallets. Google calls it the Android Ready SE Alliance.
In posting the announcement, Google says it is working with hardware partners to make devices with a secure element, a dedicated chip that handles encryption and decryption at the hardware level. Google’s own Titan M is a current example. But going forward, the goal is to create a solution that can be widely deployed and with wide compatibility, on phones, tablets, wearable devices, cars, and even televisions.
Exactly how this will work gets quite technical: lots of pre-boot verification and constant validated key exchanges between SE chips and applets. But Google’s immediate goals in relation to Android are to support digital car keys, like the latest iPhones and some BMWs, and more secure than Hyundai’s Bluetooth / NFC key system. Google also hopes to support digital ID cards, including certain national ID systems and the nascent mDL standard.
Google says it has “multiple Android OEMs” ready to add Android Ready SE to its devices, but it doesn’t actually list any by name. You can expect some of this to come out for the next version of the Pixel, although whether it reaches the rest of the Android world will depend on many different variables.