Samsung's Galaxy SmartTag+, the company's competitor to Apple's forthcoming lost-item finder known as AirTags, has now arrived. Samsung had first announced its Tile competitor known as the Galaxy SmartTag, a Bluetooth-powered locator, during its press event in January. At the time, it teased that a ultra-wideband (UWB) powered version called the Galaxy SmartTag+ would arrive sometime later in the year, without giving a specific time frame.
Now it's here. The newly launched iteration will offer support for both Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and UWB, and can be attached to the everyday items you want to keep track of -- like backpacks or keychains, for example.
Like Apple's rumored (and accidentally confirmed) AirTags, the SmartTag+ for Samsung device owners offers more precise finding capabilities because of its use of UWB technology, which the recently launched Galaxy SmartTag doesn't include.
When items go missing, SmartTag+ users will be able to use AR technology to help locate the tags more easily using their Samsung phone, because of its spatial awareness capabilities. As you get closer to the tag's location, you can also opt to have it make a loud ring -- which can help if it's fallen under something, like a sofa cushion.
Like Tile's UWB device, SmartTag+ also supports a sort of community find type of feature where any nearby Galaxy device that's opted in will be able to help locate lost items and notify their owners through the SmartThings Find network. Samsung says this data is encrypted so the tag's location is only known to its owner.
But unlike the earlier SmartTag, which has expanded to include tags that come in pink and green, the SmartTag+ comes only in black and gray at launch.
Because the new beacons rely on UWB, Samsung says they will only work with Galaxy devices that include UWB technology, including the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, Galaxy S21+, Galaxy S21 Ultra, and Galaxy Z Fold2.
The SmartTag+'s arrival comes at a time when the lost item beacon market is poised for a shakeup.
Apple's plans to enter this space, where today businesses like Tile dominate, could be fairly disruptive. Apple's AirTags will leverage UWB to capture spatial and directional data, which will make finding lost items with the tags attached easier and more accurate. But AirTags will also integrate with Apple's Find My app, which has now opened up to third-party manufacturers as of this week, including the makers of earbuds and e-bikes, among others.
Notably absent from that early lineup is Tile, which also has its own UWB tracker on the way. Tile doesn't want to give up the customer relationship it has already established via its own app and hand that over to Apple instead, we understand. Instead, it plans to offer its own UWB tracker and AR finding features through its own iOS app.
Samsung, however, doesn't have that issue as its first-party trackers are designed for its own devices. This SmartTag+ is basically the AirTag for Samsung owners, and if and when Apple launches its own beacons, the demand for the Android version could be impacted.
The company will begin to sell the new SmartTag+ on April 16th.
Samsung's earlier Galaxy SmartTags cost $29.99. The new SmartTag+ are $10 more at $39.99 in the U.S.