Tile prepares to take on AirTags with its own UWB tech

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Tile might use UWB tech to improve future item-tracking tags.
Photo: Tile

Tile reportedly will move beyond Bluetooth for its future item-tracking tags, which will add support for ultra-wideband tech. The move could be prompted by a need to compete with Apple AirTags, the long-rumored item trackers that supposedly will employ UWB.

The upgrade also could signal that Tile joined a new Apple program that allows third-party trackers to connect to the Find My‌ network created by iPhones, Macs and other Apple devices.

Upcoming Tile item trackers with UWB reportedly will look much like current models, according to information leaked to TechCrunch. The changes apparently will be internal.

Ultra-wideband gets its name because it uses radio signals broadcast across a broad swath of the frequency spectrum. UWB travels well through walls. It also allows distances to be determined with great accuracy. Neither of those benefits are true of the Bluetooth tech used in current item-tracking tags.

The next-generation UWB-enabled Tile trackers reportedly will arrive in 2021. The company won’t stop offering Bluetooth versions, as these have put it at the top of the market for these products.

Tile may have joined Apple’s Find My‌ network program

At its developers conference last June, Apple announced that it’s giving third-party accessory makers access to the Find My network. This is how iPhone and iPad users locate their misplaced devices. It’s available anywhere Apple computers are nearby, and it uses those devices to inform people where their missing gear can be found.

Apple opened up the network to third-party trackers after Tile complained to the EU Commission about Apple’s plan to give AirTags a huge competitive advantage.

TechCrunch’s source does not know whether Tile joined this program. But it did reveal that the company will offer augmented reality software to help find lost items. Apple is also allegedly including AR in future versions of its Find My software.