The smartphone is about to replace your driver’s license and passport

Mobile IDs are coming with Android R

Nowadays, a smartphone is able to act as a calendar, a shopping list, coupon clipper, a media player, and, of course, a credit card. Now your smartphone is poised to become your Passport and driver ID holder too. To that effect, at the Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui, Google presented their next big idea for a fully digital lifestyle: mobile ID cards.

That said, mobile IDs are not quite a new idea but the concept has yet to take off. The concept of mobile IDs was floated during a presentation on increasing a device’s security at the chipset level. Alongside Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 launch, Google showcased their next mobile OS, Android R (Android 11), and its improved security features include the new Android identity credentials API. Google is working with Qualcomm and its new improved security solutions to be able to offer a secure enough mobile platform to store such sensitive information, with the aim of the smartphone doing away with the wallet entirely.

But while the idea and technology are already in place, it might take a while for Mobile ID to catch on as valid identification cards work entirely different from credit cards. To that effect, while retaining such sensitive information on a phone might be plausible, there are still a number of outside factors to consider. For example, government support will play a huge role in the establishment of these mobile IDs. Only when a government entity chooses to recognize mobile IDs on smartphones as a valid source of identification will this technology be relevant.

The example presented at the Snapdragon summit was that of a driver’s license, but both companies suggested that a digital passport may also be stored. A driver’s license seems more within reach as it works on a national level as opposed to a digital passport which will require international cooperation. Until a unified international system that recognizes digital passports is established, there won’t be much use for Mobile ID technology.

While the smartphone has already replaced a number of things, it seems like physical identification cards, at least ones that are valid, are here to stay a little while longer. But with Google and Qualcomm making the technology available, it’s only a matter of time before the transition to mobile IDs is inevitable.

Disclaimer: Our travel to the Snapdragon Summit was sponsored by Qualcomm. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.

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