Verizon today launched sales of the $ 99.99 Verizon Smart Locator, a small device that can be stored with your keys, purse, or other possessions (or pets) that you never want to lose. Like Samsung’s SmartThings Tracker sold by AT&T, Verizon’s new device uses a combination of Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi-based positioning (WPS) and LTE coverage “for pinpoint accuracy wherever your wireless network is present. “.
Unlike a tile, which requires you to be in Bluetooth range to find a missing item it’s connected to, Verizon says the Smart Locator will work even if you’re not nearby. (Tile also has a community-based feature that alerts you if another Tile owner must come by your lost property.)
A Smart Locator Hub companion app for smartphones allows you to adjust the frequency of location pings (doing less of them will help conserve battery) and setting other options like geofencing (for a dog in your backyard, maybe) or adding Up to 10 trusted contacts who will also be able to verify where the Locator is if there is a situation where you cannot.
The smart locator is not a full LTE device like your smartphone or smart watch. Instead, it uses LTE-M technology and requires less bandwidth on the Verizon network. The carrier says it will maintain the signal and be able to report your location in all areas covered by Verizon LTE, but you will be out of luck if the Locator hits roaming territory and will do you no international good. (Presumably the Bluetooth functionality still works in these cases, at least.)
The Tile Pro tracker, by contrast, has a range limit of 300 feet. But it’s also a fraction of the $ 30 cost and doesn’t require a recurring service plan. Verizon will give you a free year of tracking with Smart Locator, but then you’ll have to pay $ 3 per month. (AT&T charges $ 5 a month for its SmartThings Tracker, but it also gives shoppers a free year.)
Apple is rumored to be working on a Tile-type tracking device that will integrate with the company’s Find My app, which can already indicate where you left your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Starting with iOS 13, the Find My Friends apps and Find My iPhone are combined into one. The code in the first beta version of Apple’s upcoming iOS update referenced an unreleased “Tag” product which is likely the tracking gadget.
With operators who have been so careless with their own personal location data, the least they can do is help you find your things.
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