Along with the other CES announcements, the company unveiled its new Bluetooth locator Galaxy SmartTag, a beacon for Samsung owners and a competitor to Tile, at Samsung’s Unpacked event today. Like the upcoming AirTags from Tile and Apple, the beacon can be attached to keys, a bag, a pet collar, or anything else you want to track. Initially, these SmartTags will use Bluetooth to communicate with a nearby Samsung device. However, the company confirmed that an Ultra-Wideband (UWB) version called SmartTag + will be available later this year.
The latter would allow the SmartTag to better compete with Apple’s AirTags, which are also expected to take advantage of the UWB capabilities of newer iPhones. In anticipation of this news, Tile has already developed a UWB tracker that will also arrive later this year.
The SmartTag announced today, the Galaxy SmartTag, will use Bluetooth and there is only one main SKU – no line of products in different sizes or configurations. However, the tracker is sold in two color variants: black and oatmeal.
The tracker works with any Galaxy device, a Samsung representative told us, as long as the device is running Android 10 or higher.
Device owners can then find the missing item with the SmartTag attached using the SmartThings Find app.
This works in a similar way to Tile and other BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) trackers. When the SmartTag is offline, i.e. disconnected from the Galaxy S21 or another device, it sends a BLE signal that can be detected by nearby Galaxy devices. When the device is detected, it will send the nearby location information to the SmartThings Fine app so you can find the item. According to Samsung, the SmartThings Find user data is encrypted and securely protected, so if you lose your device and use the app to search for it, your location and personal information are safe.
The app also offers a variety of location tools, including the “Notify me when it is found” option, as well as the “Find Nearby”, “Find”, and “Ring” tools. As with Tile, you can also use a SmartTag to find a missing phone. When this happens, press the Galaxy SmartTag button twice for an alert that will help you find the missing phone.
The tag can also be customized to do other tasks when pressed once, so you can easily turn on the lights or TV when you return home, for example.
Prior to the announcement, government filings featured the tracker as a slightly clunkier version of the tile trackers powered by a CR2032 cell battery with Bluetooth connectivity. (We have confirmed that the battery is actually a user-replaceable CR2032.)
A Samsung employee was unable to provide us with the official and detailed specifications for the device prior to its announcement today, but we will update it if the company finds out. Unfortunately, without the confirmed details, such as whether the battery is user replaceable or what the range is, it is difficult to make a fair comparison with the trackers on the market. (Again, leaks cannot always be fixed by yourself as they are not always indicative of the end product. However, regulatory records are probably a good place to start.)
In order to promote acceptance, Samsung is giving away the new trackers via selected pre-orders. From January 14-28, 2021, consumers who pre-order the Galaxy S21 Ultra will receive $ 200 Samsung credit and a free Galaxy SmartTag. This could help give the devices a little more traction, as Samsung’s previous investments in tracking gadgets, including the 2018 LTE-based SmartThings tracking trailers, never really worked.
Outside of the pre-order promotion, SmartTags will cost $ 29.99 individually and will go on sale on January 29th.
This is a little steeper than Tile’s Tile Mate entry-level Bluetooth tracker, which retails for $ 24.99.