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Google working on ‘Grogu’ tracker system to take on Apple AirTag

Google is seemingly working on its own Bluetooth tag tracker system to rival Apple’s AirTag, and it’s codenamed ‘Grogu’.

Back in March 2022 we reported on the discovery that Google was baking support for Bluetooth trackers directly into Android. This seemed to be the Android team making up ground on Apple’s iOS, which stole a march with its own AirTag ecosystem.

Now a couple of intrepid code-divers have dug up more evidence that Google is pushing forward with its own AirTag Bluetooth tracker system.

First, Mishaal Rahman tweeted the news that Google’s Fast Pair is preparing to add support for a new “locator tag” product. Then, developer (and reliable source of code-based tips) Kuba Wojciechowski located what that locator tag will likely be.

Google’s AirTag-a-like is very much on the cards, it seems, and is being referred to as project Grogu by the Nest development team. In case you needed bringing up to speed, this is the name of the ‘Baby Yoda’ character in The Mandalorian, Disney Plus’s hit show set in the Star Wars universe.

Apparently, this first party Bluetooth tracker features a built-in speaker, just like Apple’s AirTag. It’ll come in multiple colour options, which we’ve come to expect of Google’s accessories.

In terms of connectivity, Google’s Grogu tracker will support UWB and Bluetooth Low Energy. Ultra-wideband (UWB) is a type of technology that allows for fast, short-range exchanges of information and very precise ranging. As the source points out, while the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro support the standard, it hasn’t actually been used for anything yet.

While UWB is supported, however, it won’t be a necessity. This could help with wider adoption across the Android market, which appears to be Google’s intention. Apparently, it’s working with multiple chip makers to incorporate support for its new Fast Pair technology, which would enable Android brands to produce their own Grogu trackers.

There’s no time frame on Google’s AirTag tracker rival to appear, but Wojciechowski’s guess is that it’ll be announced at Google I/O in the middle of 2023, then launched alongside the Pixel 8 towards the end of the year.

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