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Tile plans to release Ultra Wideband tracking tag similar to rumored Apple 'AirTags'

Credit: TechCrunch

Tile is planning to introduce a new tracking device with Ultra Wideband capabilities, an expected core feature of Apple's long-rumored "AirTags."

Apple has been working on its own UWB tracking tags for several years now, though they have yet to be released. When they do debut, "AirTags" are expected to sport an Apple U-series chip that could allow for much more precise location tracking than Bluetooth alone allows.

According to TechCrunch, Tile plans to release its UWB tracking devices sometime in 2021. Internal schematics show that the tags will appear similar to existing Tile trackers, but leverage UWB for spatial awareness and precise indoor tracking.

Tile also plans to add AR capabilities to its UWB tags. Credit: Tile (via TechCrunch)
Tile also plans to add AR capabilities to its UWB tags. Credit: Tile (via TechCrunch)

In addition to UWB, the tags will also use augmented reality to guide users to their missing items. Tile users will be able to use an AR camera view in the Tile app and find lost items via overlays and directional arrows.

Sources told TechCrunch that Tile expects to release its UWB tracker later in 2021 with support for both iOS and Android. Potential pricing for the new tags is unclear, however.

Tile will keep its Bluetooth-based trackers on the market, since many users don't own an smartphone with UWB capabilities. Apple's iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 devices pack a U1 chip, which allows for UWB capabilities.

Apple, for its part, is also expected to release its UWB "AirTags" tracking tags in 2021. Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Monday said that the UWB accessory should debut sometime during the year.

Like the rumored Tile tags, "AirTags" are expected to feature both UWB tracking and augmented reality capabilities. The tags will apparently integrate in a new "Items" tab in the Find My app. Potential accessories could include leather sleeves and keychains.

Tile in 2020 testified before Congress about antitrust concerns amid rumors of Apple's entry into the tracking tag market.

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