Tile is reportedly working on a new tracker that uses ultra-wideband (UWB) technology (not to be confused with Verizon’s Ultra Wideband 5G network). The upcoming release is said to preempt a similar move from Apple, which has for months been rumored to be working on trackers called AirTags.
TechCrunch claims Tile’s new tracker with ultra-wideband, which is set to launch this year, will look similar to other trackers the company has previously released. That means we can expect a small accessory with a square shape and a flat back, a design that will allow users to easily mount them on other devices using an adhesive.
Existing trackers utilize Bluetooth and WiFi, but finding their precise location can be difficult. Ultra-wideband technology is a more precise solution, sending out low-energy, short-range pulses at a high frequency. With spatial awareness capabilities, you’ll be able to locate items that support UWB whether they’re a few rooms over or several floors down.
To coincide with Tile’s new ultra-wideband tracker, the company will reportedly add an AR feature to its app. When you want to find a tracker, users will be able to launch their camera and see an item’s precise location.
Ultra-wideband technology is primed to have a breakout year. Apple began integrating UWB into its iPhone line with the U1 chip starting in 2019, while Samsung is going down a similar path; the company’s upcoming Galaxy S21 series will likely feature UWB. Both Apple and Samsung are also expected to release Tile competitors equipped with UWB, with a tracker from Samsung recently leaking ahead of its Unpacked event on January 14.
It’s unclear when Tile will release its rumored tracker with ultra-wideband, but many of the necessary pieces are already in place. Last year, Apple began to give third-party developers access to its U1 chip in iOS 14, while Google is also adding an UWB API to Android. Tile will no doubt take advantage of that when its latest tracker is released.