A year ago, the tech world was in a state of delirium for ultra-broadband key finders. Unlike your standard Bluetooth key finder, those built with ultra-wideband (UWB) technology will help you locate your things with even more precision, guiding you directly to your object in an augmented reality overlay.
Samsung was the first to launch an ultra-broadband key finder, with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Plus smart tag in January 2021, so Apple got involved and made key finders a big deal with the launch of the AirTag. in May of that year.
But before there was Samsung and Apple, there was Tile. The absolute market leader in item-finding gadgets announced a suite of new products in late 2021, when they launched a new Tile pro (£ 29.95, Amazon.co.uk), Tile mate (£ 14 , 99, Amazon.co.uk.uk), Tile Sticker (£ 24.99, Amazon.co.uk) and Tile slim (£ 29.99, Currys.co.uk). While they all received improvements in range and design, the real star of the show was the Tile ultra.
The company’s first key finder to use ultra-broadband technology, the Tile ultra would allow the godfather of key finder technology to tackle Apple’s AirTag and Samsung Galaxy’s smart tag +. More importantly, it would be the first UWB tracker to work the same with Android and iOS devices. In addition to Bluetooth, Tile’s integration of ultra-broadband would help you locate your item more precisely with turn-by-turn directions. It looked like a revolutionary device for the company, except it’s not here yet.
Although Tile didn’t reveal a release date or price for the Tile ultra when it announced the device last year, it did say it would arrive in early 2022. Well, it’s almost the end of 2022 now and Tile ultra still isn’t. it’s here. So what’s going on?
To find the Tile ultra, we need to turn time back to its initial announcement. On November 22, 2021, a month after Tile revealed the new UWB device to the world, the self-described “family safety” company Life360 announced that it was acquiring the popular key finder brand in a deal worth $ 205 million (£ 187 million).
Life360 is a family-centric location-based platform that allows you to view the real-time location of family members; receive notifications when someone enters or leaves a specific location and access a member directly. With Tile on board, you’ll be able to track objects, pets (following the Jiobit acquisition), and people, all on one platform.
While Tile’s parent company has found itself marred by controversy since its acquisition, following a December 2021 report by The markup claimed that Life360 had been selling its users’ location data (up to a dozen data brokers) since 2016 – probably not why Tile ultra hasn’t launched yet.
In an August earnings report, Life360 hinted that it would reposition its hardware strategy ahead of the holiday period, with the company indicating that it would focus on subscriptions and subscriptions, but also that it would begin bundling Life360 with products. Tile Key Finder, something that has already begun to do with Tile mate.
While Life360 takes care of integrating Tile into its ecosystem, it appears that the acquisition of Tile also meant delayed the launch of the revolutionary Tile ultra. “After the acquisition by Life360, we are reviewing the timing of the collective launch of our products,” said a spokesperson for Tile. The independent.
The earnings report implies that the company is preparing for a product and subscription ahead of Christmas, but we don’t know if that means Tile ultra is part of that package.
Tile says the device is still on the way, but not yet, which is no surprise considering it missed its “early 2022” schedule. “We prioritize the development and launch of our products based on what we believe will provide the best value to our customers. Right now, our goal is to deliver our vision of a cross-platform solution that enables location-based tracking of people, pets and things through the integration of Tile and Jiobit, “the spokesperson added.” We continue to have the Tile Ultra product with UWB technology in our product pipeline. “
If you’ve gotten tired of waiting for Tile to launch Tile ultra and want an ultra-broadband key finder, you’ll want to grab one of Apple’s AirTags or Samsung Galaxy smart tag plus. If you’d rather stick with Tile, Tile pro and Tile mate are still both Bluetooth-enabled object trackers, just without the accuracy.
The AirTag is Apple’s first key finder aimed at iOS users. It uses Bluetooth to help you track your object when it’s out of range and ultra-wideband when it’s close, helping you locate your objects more accurately. “Precision tracking works wonderfully well when you can get a signal and the fact that it is powered by removable batteries is a real plus,” said our writer in their review. “As with many Find My things, there is strength in the numbers. There are so many devices connected to the Where’s that network that you will always be able to locate your AirTag if it goes wrong. “
Samsung Galaxy smart tag plus: £ 29.89, Amazon.co.uk
Samsung has been in the key finding game for a while, but the Samsung Galaxy smart tag plus is the company’s first UWB tracker for Samsung Galaxy owners, helping you get more accurate directions for your item. Finding a lost smart tag is quick and easy, provided you are in an area with many other Samsung Galaxy users, but there is also a button on this device for added functionality. “Being able to control smart home devices, such as lighting, with the tag button is a really neat touch that is convenient and works well,” our writer said in the tracker review. “It works well and is ideal for Samsung Galaxy users who have already invested in the company’s SmartThings ecosystem.”
Tile pro is a well-rounded Bluetooth tracker that does a very good job, and is useful because it works with both Android and iOS devices and has the widest range of all Tile trackers. That said, there is no UWB technology. “It’s cleverly designed, hooks onto keys and slips into a pocket with minimal effort, so it offers a lifeline if those keys are out of place,” our writer said in their review. “The Tile pro still works flawlessly when it’s within Bluetooth range and its speaker is particularly loud. But, once lost in the real world, its ability to be found depends as much on population density, and therefore on the number of Tile users nearby, as on luck.
If you’re looking for a non-UWB budget option that works with your device, iOS or Android, look no further than Tile mate. It’s a little quieter than the Tile pro, has a shorter Bluetooth range, and doesn’t have a replaceable battery, but it’s cheap, cheerful, and does the job. “Everyone can benefit from attaching a Tile companion to their keys or purse, and especially Android users, as the AirTag only works with iPhones,” said our writer in his review. “The Tile mate is cheaper than the Apple version and the integrated hole means it can be attached to keys without having to purchase a case.”
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