Tile has announced that it's refreshing its full range of thing-tracking devices, and has unveiled a new model, called Tile Ultra, that will feature super-accurate ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. You'll be able to use UWB to locate your lost keys/bag/whatever in augmented reality, and the Tile Ultra is the first UWB tracker to work on both Android and iPhone.
With the release of Apple AirTag and the somewhat less snappily titled Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus, UWB is the hot new tech in smart trackers. At close range, it enables your tag to actually give directional and distance info to your phone, so your phone can tell you exactly where to go to find the lost item.
But those tags mentioned above are very platform specific – whereas Tile Ultra will work with UWB on both platforms. And not only that, but unlike Apple AirTag, one tag can be registered with more than one user, so you and your partner can use separate Tile accounts to track the same set of car keys. It'll be available in 2022, for a price yet to be confirmed.
Tile's existing range of trackers has also been updated across the board, with Bluetooth range extensions, louder alerts and new QR codes being the big new additions. More range makes them easier for phones to detect, and emitting a louder noise is great for when your keys are under a pile of washing.
The QR codes are a really great yet simple addition – all the new Tiles have a unique QR on the back, with a sign saying to scan them if found. You can put some contact information into the Tile app, and when someone scans the QR code, that's what they'll see – and you'll get a notification that someone scanned it.
Apple AirTag has a similar feature, but it's NFC based, so someone has to tap their phone to the tag – but it doesn't say on the AirTag that this is an option. Tile's system is much clearer, and so more likely to get someone to actually do the scanning.
The new range includes the Tile Mate (the most popular option, balancing size and range), the Tile Pro (longer range, louder sound, replaceable battery), the Tile Sticker (smaller and with a strong sticky surface to attach to anything you like), and the Tile Slim (card-size, made for wallets).
One thing Tile has noted to us is a renewed focus on the privacy concerns of these tracking devices, to help avoid surreptitious tracking for abusive means. It's now possible to download the Tile app and use it to scan for any Tile tags that are within communication range without the need to set up an account or go through any lengthy process. Just open and scan when you're able.
The new Tile range looks really flexible, and I think that's the key thing to Tile still being a product worth buying when giants like Apple and Samsung are competing hard with it.