With Apple likely to enter into the key finder business with AirTags later this year, it’s no surprise that Samsung also has trackers of its own in the works. In fact we may even see them this week, as rumors claim Samsung’s new trackers may launch alongside the Samsung Galaxy S21 at the January 14 Galaxy Unpacked event.
This isn’t the first time Samsung has had a go at making its own tracking gadgets, as 2018 saw the launch of the LTE-based SmartThings tracking fobs. But those never caught on. What’s more, the rumors suggest SmartTags are going to be a lot more advanced, with Bluetooth and potentially Ultra Wideband connectivity.
So ahead of Samsung Galaxy Unpacked this Thursday (January 14), here’s everything we know about Samsung’s SmartTag key tracker.
Samsung SmartTag release date
Given all the recent chatter about the SmartTags, it seems likely they’ll join the Galaxy S21 as part of this week’s Galaxy Unpacked launch on Jan 14. Presumably, they’d go on sale around the same time as Samsung’s new phones, which are currently expected to arrive on January 22.
So far we’ve also heard that the SmartTag will be available in at least four colors: black, oatmeal, denim blue, and mint.
Samsung SmartTag price
There’s been no official word from Samsung on how much each SmartTag may cost. However, according to previously seen regulatory documents, we’re looking at a price tag of €15-€20 over in Europe. Pre-tax that will likely work out to around $15-$20 in the U.S, which is cheaper than the $25 entry-level Tile Mate.
Let me be more clear:Galaxy S21 Ultra Pre order: Smart Tags & Galaxy Buds ProGalaxy S21 & S21+ Pre Order: Smart Tags & Galaxy Buds Live pic.twitter.com/DpvrvOOZATJanuary 5, 2021
But you might not have to spend any money to get a SmartTag, because the latest rumors indicate Samsung will offer them as a gift when you pre-order a Samsung Galaxy S21. Apparently anyone that pre-orders the S21 Ultra will receive the rumored Galaxy Buds Pro and a SmartTag, while the regular S21 and S21 Plus will be bundled with a SmartTag and a pair of Galaxy Buds Live.
(“What are the Galaxy Buds Pro?” you might be asking. Our Galaxy Buds Pro hub has details about Samsung’s upcoming wireless headphones.)
Of course, if previous leaks are accurate, the SmartTag is cheap enough that you’re not missing out on a lot by missing the pre-order window.
Samsung SmartTag: How they’ll work
From what we’ve head, you’ll attach the Samsung Smart Tag to your valuables which will help you track them anything that ever goes missing. It’s not a particularly original idea, but if Samsung is serious about butting heads with Tile and Apple’s AirTags, then that’s the basics of what people would expect from the SmartTag.
Samsung has spoken about its plans for utilizing ultra-wideband (UWB) technology in recent weeks. Since Apple is reportedly planning on using UWB in the AirTags, many have assumed Samsung would do the same with the SmartTag. While companies like Tile have long used Bluetooth, UWB has an advantage in that it can send more data.
More specifically UWB is able to send spatial and directional data to an accuracy of around 2 to 5 inches. Bluetooth and other narrowband signals, on the other hand, are only able to accurately measure within a few feet. That means UWB offers a more precise location, making a tracker easier to find quickly.
But as far as we’ve seen, there’s no evidence that the SmartTag will have UWB. Regulatory documents have detailed a keyring tracker, powered by C2032 cell batteries, that employs Bluetooth connectivity, and nothing else. While this doesn’t discount the possibility of a UWB-centric SmartTag sometime in the future, it sounds as though the first wave of SmartTags will be little more than Samsung-branded Tile clones.
And Tile clone is not an exaggeration, since leaked images and diagrams show off a tracker that looks like a chunkier cousin to the Tile Pro and Tile Mate. Unlike AirTags, which seem designed to be fixed to something else based on rumors we’ve heard about Apple’s plans, the SmartTag has a hole you can use to attach it to a keyring, lanyard, or something similar.
Regular leaker Ishan Agarwal also claims (via 91mobiles) that the SmartTag will automatically connect to Galaxy smartphones, and that they’ll be end-to-end encrypted. Furthermore, you’ll be able to share the location of your SmartTag with others. Like Tile, Samsung’s SmartTags are also set to include a button you can double press to activate your phone’s ringer.
Samsung SmartTag: A whole range of trackers?
As disappointing as it is to find the SmartTag may only debut with Bluetooth initially, we’ve already heard rumors that more than one version is on the way. Ishan Agarwal has reported Samsung will launch the SmartTag Plus alongside the regular SmartTag, and while he doesn’t specify any change in connectivity he does say the SmartTag Plus will have some unspecified benefits compared to the standard SmartTag.
If this is the case, it suggests Samsung isn’t just releasing a tracker for the sake of it, and has plans for a wider range of trackers that do different things. It’s not clear what future plans may be, but given the company’s previous statements about UWB tech, it would make sense that Samsung is working on a UWB-powered tracker —especially since both Apple and Tile have similar products on the way.
Samsung SmartTag outlook
It seems as though Samsung is taking things slowly with the SmartTag, kicking things off with tech that, while unoriginal, is proven to work. At the very least, Bluetooth is ubiquitous, and doesn’t restrict its potential consumer base to those who have UWB-compatible phones.
Given Galaxy Unpacked is scheduled for later this week (Jan. 14) we don’t have very long to wait and see what Samsung has planned for SmartTags, at least right out of the gate.