You didn’t think Tile was going to sit back and let Apple swallow up the tracking business it built up did you? Well, today, the company’s answer to the forthcoming AirTags may have been revealed.
According to a TechCrunch report, Tile plans to fit its next-generation trackers with ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, along with augmented reality within the companion app to help users track down their lost items.
Ultra-wideband (UWB) tech is included in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 as well as some Android devices like the most recent Samsung Galaxy Note 20. The tech is considered more accurate for capturing spatial and directional data than the Bluetooth standard, making it ideal for a new generation of item trackers.
Samsung recently described it as “continuously scanning radar that can precisely lock onto an object, discover its location and communicate with it,” for example.
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TechCrunch obtained internal concept art for the UWB-based Tile trackers (main image), which suggests that they’ll look much the same, despite the huge internal upgrade. There’ll be a centre button, support for keychains and they will have a flat back, judging by the sketches.
The report says Tile will build an AR camera into its app to assist with hunting down a lost wallet, for example, if it’s been dropped on the way home from the shops. It states:
“The Tile app, meanwhile, will allow users to launch to an AR-enabled camera view that will help to guide them to the item’s location using overlays, like directional arrows and an AR view of the item’s location.”
The long-awaited AirTags are also expected to have the AR feature too, so with all things being equal, Tile and AirTags could end up being quite comparable as products. Apple may have the advantage of the vast network of iPhones to help people track down their lost items. Samsung is also believed to be working on similar trackers.