Samsung's more precise SmartTag+ uses AR to guide you to lost items
Trackers like Tile or Pixie have been helping us find lost keys and wallets for years now, but they aren’t all that precise beyond “it’s within Bluetooth range.” Samsung has now unveiled the Galaxy SmartTag+, the first tracker to use the more accurate ultra-wideband (UWB) technology.
The Galaxy SmartTag+ basically works much the same as previous trackers. Attach this little device to the thing you’re trying not to lose – your keychain, wallet, purse, backpack, bike, first-born child, whatever it may be – and when it inevitably vanishes, you can use your phone to figure out where it is.
Past devices worked by connecting to your phone via Bluetooth, so to find them your phone would first check if it’s still within Bluetooth range. If it is, you could press a button in the app to make it ring, or play a kind of hotter/colder game on your phone to figure out which direction it was in, based on changes in the strength of the connection as you walk around.
But the Galaxy SmartTag+ backs up the Bluetooth with another similar technology, UWB, which works at much higher frequencies. That means the phone can more precisely pinpoint the direction that the tag is in. There’s even an augmented reality (AR) mode to help, where arrows will pop up on the screen over your camera feed, to guide you in the right direction. When you’re looking at it, little sparkles appear on the screen.
Of course, your lost items won’t always be in Bluetooth or UWB range, and that’s where Samsung’s SmartThings Find network comes in. This system basically builds a search party out of Galaxy devices from users all around you, and if any of them happen to ping off your lost SmartTag+, a map location will be sent to your phone. All the data is anonymized too, so nobody will know that they’ve detected someone else’s valuables.
Other companies like Tile has been doing that kind of thing for years too, but tapping into UWB should make the Galaxy SmartTag+ far more precise. It’s the first tracking device to use the tech, although it definitely won’t be the last – rumors have been swirling for months that Apple is getting ready to reveal UWB-enabled AirTags in the near future, and the tech has actually been lurking quietly in the last two generations of iPhones, mostly untapped. Tile is apparently cooking up something with UWB as well.
The Galaxy SmartTag+ is due to launch on April 16 starting at US$39.99 each, or $64.99 for a two-pack. To use UWB, you’ll need a Galaxy S21+, S21 Ultra, Note20 Ultra, or a Galaxy Z Fold2.