Samsung announces Galaxy SmartTag +, smart trackers powered by UWB

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Illustration from the article titled Samsung's Enhanced Smart Tracker Can Help You Find Your Keys Using AR

Graphic: Samsung

Thursday, Samsung ad plans to launch an upgraded version of its Galaxy SmartTag smart trackers, the aptly named SmartTag +, worldwide on April 16 with a US deployment slated “in the coming weeks.”

These smart trackers attach to your keys, wallet, or whatever else you frequently lose to help you track them through an app. The design was first popularized by Tile a few years ago, and while the rumors long broadcast about Apple developing a similar device, called Apple AirTag, Samsung punch them with the announcement of its Galaxy SmartTag Bluetooth in January. At the time, Samsung teased that a version powered by ultra-broadband technology, one of the latest buzzwords in consumer technology, could be on the horizon. And now we finally have a release date.

By a Samsung Press release, the SmartTag + will support both UWB and Bluetooth Low Energy, a variation of traditional Bluetooth that doesn’t consume as much battery power and is already included in the original SmartTag. The SmartTag + is a bit more expensive than its predecessor at $ 39.99 compared to the SmartTag’s $ 29.99 price tag.

In addition to being able to locate more precisely your lost items, the enhanced spatial awareness feature provided by the UWB technology of the SmartTag + means that it can use augmented reality to visually guide users to lost tokens using their smartphone’s camera if they have a smartphone equipped with UWB. You can also choose to mute the tracker sound with a ringtone when you get closer to its location, or have other users join your search through a feature similar to the “Community search” network announced for Tile’s upcoming UWB powered tracker. Your location data remains protected, however, Samsung said Thursday:

“All data in SmartThings Find is encrypted and protected, so the location of the beacon is not revealed to anyone other than you. “

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You can see an example of how the AR function for SmartTag + works in the graphic below. (It reminds me a bit Toy story where Mrs. Potato Head loses an eye under the sofa but, since it’s detachable and so on, she can still see through).

Illustration from the article titled Samsung's Enhanced Smart Tracker Can Help You Find Your Keys Using AR

Graphic: Samsung

Similar to Bluetooth, UWB technology allows devices within a certain range to talk to each other, but what sets it apart is its superior ability to identify exact locations and broadcast data with minimal interference. It does this by transmitting data on a wider frequency than “narrowband” wireless technology, the downside being that it suffers from a shorter overall range. Technology has has been around for decades, but it’s only recently that UWB chips have become cheap enough and tiny enough that companies justify their inclusion in smartphones and other consumer gadgets.

This year is shaping up to be a big one for UWB with the two Tile and apple would work on UWB powered trackers.

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