Bluetooth tracking specialist Tile has unveiled new models of its Tile Mate and Tile Pro tracking devices which now support replaceable batteries. It's a significant update given that a dead or defective battery no longer renders the whole product unusable – the overwhelming request from current Tile users, the company says.
If you're not familiar with Tile products, they are a range of physical tracking devices you can attach to precious objects – keys being the obvious example. By pairing the tracker to a smartphone using Bluetooth, users can view the location where the tracker was last "seen" by the accompanying smartphone app – so long as the app is kept running in the background, that is. Additionally, the tracker can be made to ring out loud to make it easier to find.
The updated models (pictured above) don't ship with additional batteries, but Tile is simultaneously launching a Tile Premium service which offers free replacement batteries each year for an unlimited number of Tiles. The company promises the replacements ship before the end of your current battery's one-year lifetime guarantee, the idea being that dead batteries will be something you don't need to worry about.
Of course, the service doesn't come for free. Rather, it comes for US$3.99 per month or $39.99 if you pay annually. The premium service does come with a handful of other features, though. Devices can now be tracked by unlimited devices. A 30-day location history for each Tile device can be viewed, theoretically making it possible to find lost devices beyond the working Bluetooth range, an extended three-year warranty and direct customer support through the Tile app.
But perhaps the best feature of the Premium service, battery replacements aside, are its Smart Alerts which can let you know if you leave the house without a particular item. The Smart Alerts feature is launching as a beta service at this point so it may be that there are still kinks to iron out, or a higher chance of major changes to how the service works.
The devices themselves also offer improvements. Bluetooth range is increased to 150 feet (46 m) for the Tile Mate, and 300 feet (91 m) for the Tile Pro. Ring volume is also increased, with the Pro twice as loud as older devices like the Tile Sport. The Tile Mate has a white plastic finish, while the Pro boasts sleeker dark or white graphite and metal stylings.
Tile claims that its devices are already used to track 4 million items in more than 230 countries, and is making the most of that user base with a feature it calls "community find." Should you lose an item with a Tile attached out of range of your device, should another Tile user pass by, an update will be sent to your phone notifying you off your Tile's location (essentially piggy-backing on the connectivity of the passer-by).
The new products are available immediately from the Tile website and selected stockists.
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