Samsung had one final surprise up its sleeve following its Galaxy Fan Edition device launches. The company today unveiled the Galaxy SmartTag 2 tracker in a separate announcement just one day after revealing its latest FE gadgets.
Rather than packing it in with the Fan Edition products, Samsung strategically timed the SmartTag 2 reveal to create a “one more thing” moment. The scheduling divided the mainstream FE devices from the niche tracking accessory for a tidier, more organized announcement.
The $30 (around Ksh 4,500) Galaxy SmartTag 2 delivers welcome improvements like 700-day battery life and an IP67 water/dust resistant design. However, its reliance on Samsung’s SmartThings Find network severely limits compatibility compared to the incoming Android Find My Device network.
Galaxy SmartTag 2 Offers UWB Precision But Only Works With Select Galaxy Phones
The headline upgrade is the addition of UWB (ultra-wideband) alongside Bluetooth LE (low energy) connectivity. This enables the new Compass View that provides precise directional guidance to find lost objects.
UWB only works with recent Samsung flagships like the Galaxy S23 series though. The SmartTag2 has a 120m Bluetooth range, but still requires a compatible Samsung Galaxy device and the SmartThings Find app.
This contrasts with Apple’s Find My network which locates AirTags and other Find My-enabled accessories across hundreds of millions of active iPhones and iPads.
Google’s Find My Device Network Delayed Pending Apple Update
The anticipated rollout of Google’s rebranded Find My Device network as an AirTag rival has hit delays. Google is still waiting for Apple to implement protections against unwanted tracking before launching the expanded network.
Once live, Find My Device will anonymously crowdsource billions of Android phones to locate compatible third-party object trackers. This gives it vastly wider coverage than proprietary options like Samsung’s network.
Google’s Own AirTag Clone “Grogu” Also Remains MIA
Rumors earlier this year suggested Google was internally developing its own UWB/Bluetooth tracker dubbed “grogu” under its Nest division.
But with Find My Device’s expansion still pending, Google unsurprisingly did not unveil its AirTag competitor at the recent Pixel 8 launch event.
The Grogu tracker and other third-party alternatives for Find My Device like the Chipolo ONE Spot remain unavailable. They will likely launch alongside the full rollout of Google’s network later in 2023.
Expanded Android Network Key to Rivaling Apple Find My
The Galaxy SmartTag2 provides incremental improvements for Samsung ecosystem users. However, the game-changing advancements for object tracking on Android hinge on Google’s Find My Device network going live.
Once launched, Find My Device will harness location data from billions of Android phones to pinpoint lost items. This will finally give Google and third-party accessory makers the infrastructure to compete with Apple’s Find My and AirTags.
Samsung’s new tracker is only a stopgap for Galaxy owners until the expanded crowd-sourced Android tracking network arrives. Find My Device promises to make item finding seamless across the wider Android ecosystem.
Its rollout will enable the release of Google’s rumored AirTag clone and other interoperable trackers. For real multi-device item finding on Android, Google’s platform remains the ultimate solution.