In the latest move by convergence, your car keys are about to be swallowed up by your cell phone. The big goal of convergence seems to involve emptying our pockets, not of cash, although that is a side effect, but of things. The fully equipped tech nerd used to carry a cell phone, PDA, MP3 player, and digital camera. Cell phones took over all those functions, so convergence went rummaging through your pockets looking for something else to subsume. And it found your car keys, which, thanks to new smart keys, can easily be converged into the cell phone.
Nissan, Sharp, and Japanese phone company NTT DoCoMo is spearheading this latest effort. Nissan has been offering smart keys in its cars since 2002, and we've become so used to them that we don't bother mentioning it in our reviews any more. Sharp designed a phone that would, we assume, work on NTT DoCoMo's service, and include the functionality of a smart key for a Nissan car.
In practice, you would keep your cell phone in your pocket and approach your Nissan car. Sensors in the car would detect the unique signal from the phone when you got close, and unlock the doors when you touched the door handle. This same signal from the cell phone makes it possible to crank over the engine by pushing the car's start button. Nissan, Sharp, and NTT DoCoMo will show a demonstration of the cell phone/smart key at Ceatec Japan next week.
We assume the next things integrated into cell phones will be pocket change and lint.