There's a ton of tags, Tiles and trackers to attach to those items that are always vanishing around the house, but most of them are Bluetooth-enabled, so they aren't much good if you leave them on a bus. Samsung has announced plans to jump into the tracker game with the Connect Tag, which uses a cellular connection to get a GPS readout on lost items, pets and even kids, essentially anywhere there's a cell phone tower.
The trackers we've tried, like Tile and the Orbit Card, connect to a phone via Bluetooth, so when they go walkabout you can use the app to make them cry out from their hiding place. But as soon as that Bluetooth connection is lost, the app can only tell you the item's last known location. If you've left it on a train or some nasty scoundrel has made off with your valuables, there's not much you can do to find it.
The Samsung Connect Tag still runs through an app, but it sounds far more useful thanks to its cellular connection. The tag taps into a narrowband network designed for Internet of Things devices, and combines GPS, Cell ID and Wi-Fi-based positioning systems to get a lock on your loseables wherever they've been left. Along with securing things like wallets or keys, or helping you find your car in a parking lot, Samsung says the Connect Tag can be a handy way to track pets or kids, if they wander too far from home.
To check the location of the tag and whatever it's attached to, users can press a button in the app, or the device can be made to ping the app periodically to update its location. Pressing a button on the tag itself will also alert the app, so a lost child can contact home without a phone.
That IOT integration also means the Connect Tag can talk to Samsung's SmartThings ecosystem. For example, a geo-fence feature lets users set certain actions to trigger when they approach, so the lights or the TV can be switched on when you walk in the door with a Connect Tag hanging off your keys.
The tag itself is compact, measuring 42 x 42 x 12 mm (1.7 x 1.7 x 0.5 in) and weighing just 25 g (0.9 oz). It has a waterproof rating of IP68, meaning it can survive immersed in 1 m (3.3 ft) of water for up to 30 minutes, and its 300 mAh battery can last a week on a charge. It comes with a ring that lets it hook onto bags, keys or collars.
Samsung is showing off the Connect Tag at the Samsung Developer Conference this week. There's no word on price yet, but Samsung has said it will launch the device in Korea first, followed by other countries over the next few months.