Friday, October 22, 2021

Tile’s 2022 line has longer battery life, longer range, and a UWB model

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Enlarge / Okay, from left to right, we have: The Tile Pro, another Tile Pro, the credit card-style Tile Slim, Two Tile Mates, and the tiny Tile Sticker.

Tile

It seems like everyone is invading Tile territory recently, from Apple with its AirTags to Samsung with its SmartTags. However, Tile is not going to let him down and has introduced a renewed lineup of Bluetooth tracking products that help you find your stuff. The great advantage of Tile over its Big Tech rivals is that it is the only product line that is platform independent. So if you’re not exclusively in the Apple or Samsung ecosystem and you’re always losing your car keys, Tile is worth checking out.

The back of the Tile Pro, if you're wondering where the battery goes.
Enlarge / The back of the Tile Pro, if you’re wondering where the battery goes.

Tile

The $ 34.99 Tile Pro, Tile’s only product with a user-replaceable battery, has a new, longer design that Tile says is modeled after a keychain. With more space, you get a better speaker and a 400-foot Bluetooth range. That still drink a CR2032 battery (also known as BIOS battery) which, according to Tile, should last a year.

The other Tile products have permanent batteries that Tile says should last three years, and after that you’ll need to replace them. There’s the $ 24.99 Tile Mate (Tile’s cheapest keychain tracker), the $ 34.99 Tile Slim (a credit card-shaped tracker for your wallet), and the $ 29.99 Tile Sticker (a small plastic circle tape) for items where a loop connector is not feasible. The range of these three items has been updated to 250 feet, which says the tile is “a 25% increase for Mate and Slim, and a 67% increase for Sticker.” All new trackers, including the Pro, have IP67 water and dust resistance, so they should survive submerged in one meter of water for 30 minutes.

The four new trackers are on sale now on the Tile site.

The “Tile Ultra”, available in 2022

Tile also teased the “Tile Ultra,” which will arrive in 2022. It represents the company’s leap into the ultra-broadband market. Tile did not provide images of the physical tracker, just a mockup of what the app’s interface will look like.

Tiles traditionally help you locate an item by playing a sound. All trackers have tiny speakers and will play a shrill little ringtone when you press the “locate” button and go to find the noise. Ultra-wideband (or UWB), on the other hand, is a new radio technology that can physically locate an item in relation to your phone. The application will display an arrow interface on your smartphone, like a compass that always points to the item you are looking for. It can also detect how far you are from the item.

The Tile Ultra UWB interface.  The camera feed as the background is a nice touch.
Enlarge / The Tile Ultra UWB interface. The camera feed as the background is a nice touch.

Tile

Whether you want UWB or a sound location depends on your situation. If it’s in the same room as your item, the sound is likely faster. Most people can intuitively locate the direction and distance of a sound, and you can search for the item instead of looking for your smartphone. If you hypocrisy Listen to the article, like if you are deaf or hard of hearing, or if you drop your car keys outside on the driveway, or are looking for a checked bag in a busy airport, the UWB compass interface begins to have sense.

Tile calls the Ultra “the best Bluetooth search experience in its class,” but the company doesn’t mention whether the device also has a speaker or can only be located with UWB. I think an ideal device would do both: sound when it’s close and UWB for when it’s not within earshot.

Currently, it is difficult to get support for UWB. Apple has been supported for the longest time, starting with the iPhone 11 of 2019, while Samsung started with the Galaxy S21 of 2021. Google is expected to ship UWB with Pixel 6 next week and is only now rolling out the UWB APIs on Android. 12. Tile says this will be “the first ultra-broadband tracker compatible with Android and iOS devices.”

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