Tile upgrades Bluetooth trackers and adds a new Sticker
Tile trackers have been keeping tabs on people's stuff for years, and the upgraded 2019 range just got unveiled – it features slimmer form factors, expanded ranges, and a new Sticker tracker that's the smallest Tile device yet.
The Tile Sticker is designed to attach to anything from skateboards to cameras, and comes with an adhesive created in partnership with 3M (of adhesive tape fame). That stickiness and its small size – 27 mm (1.06 in) diameter and 7.3 mm (0.29 in) thick – opens up a whole new range of possibilities for item tracking.
According to Tile, the adhesive is good for up to five years once you've applied the Sticker to something, and it's waterproof as well. It should, apparently, stick to most flat plastic or metal surfaces. You can pick up the Tile Sticker for US$39.99 for a pack of two or $59.99 for a pack of four, and it has a battery life of three years and a range of 150 ft (45.7 m).
As for the traditional Tile trackers in the line up, the Tile Slim has been revamped to take on a credit-card-like form factor, obviously so you can slot it in your wallet or in a pouch on your luggage. The range doubles from the previous iteration to 200 ft (61 m), and again it's waterproof with a three-year battery life. The Tile Slim retails for $29.99.
Rounding out the 2019 range are the slightly tweaked Tile Mate (with a 200-ft or 61-m range) and Tile Pro (with a 400-ft or 122-m range). These trackers are intended primarily for keychains, have replaceable batteries, and are water-resistant rather than waterproof. The Mate costs $24.99 and the Pro costs $34.99.
The functionality is the same as before – you can use the associated app to get a Tile to ring, if it's in range, helping you to find those misplaced keys. Tile trackers can also show a "last known location" on a map, so you know whether you left your laptop at the coffee shop or the office, for example.
If you and your Tile are out of Bluetooth range, the Tile app can enlist the help of other Tile users to try and track down what you've misplaced. If something is lost and another Tile user gets within range of it, they'll be able to pass that location on to you (which all happens seamlessly in the background).
What makes the 2019 Tile refresh perhaps more important than any previous one is that Apple is widely expected to launch its own tracking tags in the near future, making use of Ultra Wideband technology built into the new iPhones. If and when that happens, Tile will have some serious competition to contend with.