Samsung Released Apple AirTags Before Apple Did

Apple AirTags were one of the funniest products in the past few years. While Apple is waiting for the technology to be just right, it has just been scooped up by Samsung, which launched its own $ 30 Galaxy SmartTag accessory alongside the Galaxy S21.

The Galaxy SmartTag is exactly what you’d expect: a small plastic disk with a hole that you can attach to anything you want to keep an eye on. The tracker has a tiny battery (which lasts “months”) and Bluetooth LE. You can always open SmartThings Find on your phone to find out where it is. SmartThings Find finds your other Samsung phones, tablets, and headphones.

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I admit that it is somewhat misleading to say that Samsung scooped Apple on AirTag because the SmartTag is completely unobtrusive. This is a basic bluetooth tracker that’s not dissimilar to Tile or several other names. Its only “advantage” is that it is integrated into Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem. That first SmartTag only uses Bluetooth, so it can’t give you any direction or proximity information – just a “hot or cold” that indicates the tag is somewhere nearby.

When it launched the Galaxy S21, Samsung also announced that there will be a $ 40 SmartTag + later this year that uses UWB, or ultra-broadband, as rumored for Apple’s AirTags. UWB gives you precise directions and proximity information provided you have a phone with UWB – conveniently the Galaxy S21 + and S21 Ultra.

Have people bought these bluetooth trackers before? Samsung thinks so.

Everyone who Pre-order a Galaxy S21 in the first two weeks will receive a free SmartTag that will hit the market immediately – although it is unclear how many will actually try.

This type of product has been around for several years and anecdotally I just don’t see them being used. Tile is probably the most famous name in business, and while it’s still there, I don’t see people using them or standing up for their usefulness like they did in the first year in the market.

The SmartTag has the benefit of being from a big name like Samsung and that will bring it some sales. But the fact that this is just the exact same product we’ve had access to for several years, with a different brand tied into the Samsung ecosystem, I don’t see how this will play out.

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