Tile object finder launches in Europe, Australia and New Zealand | Bangkok Post: tech

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Tile object finder launches in Europe, Australia and New Zealand

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The location-tracking device with a difference is rolling out for pre-order in more territories due to demand, ahead of its official winter 2013 launch. 

The Tile object finder The Tile can adhere to a device or can be worn like a keychain.

A Selfstarter-funded hit that managed to reach its initial $20,000 funding goal in just eight hours before surging on to secure an impressive $294,249 to date (the campaign doesn't close until July 23), Tile is a tracking device with a difference: it uses crowd-sourced information to pinpoint the exact location of a missing item, whether it be a smartphone, tablet, notebook, a set of keys, or even a child, if you're that way inclined.

Like a host of other devices already on the market, such as the Hipkey, Tile is controlled by an app and, just like its competitors, it communicates with said app via Bluetooth, which offers an effective location range of 100-150 feet or 30-45 meters.

However, thanks to the power of the crowd, a Tile's effective range could be 30-45 meters from any smartphone running the app anywhere in the world. That's because all Tiles can communicate anonymously with any app user and use that connection to communicate location with an object's owner. Therefore, if a smartphone detects a missing object it will send an alert with the location to the owner. An ingenious idea in theory but one that will only work fully in practice if enough consumers buy one. One of the ways that Tile is addressing this problem is by allowing users to grant access to the location of certain devices to friends, family and co-workers, each of whom will need to install the app. However, information passed from the Tiles to their users and vice versa is secure.

The small squares are waterproof, can adhere to an object, worn like a keyring or dropped into a jacket pocket or the bottom of a bag. Up to 10 individual Tiles can be managed on a single account. The Tiles currently cost $18.95 each plus shipping -- the price will jump to $25 once the Self Starter campaign comes to an end -- and are now available to consumers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand as well as in Canada and the US. They are guaranteed to work without a recharge for one year and feature an in-built speaker which will start to sound an alert as their owner approaches; when it is time to replace them, users will be invited to buy replacement Tiles (at $25 each) and to recycle their existing Tiles.

At the moment, the company has no plans to offer the app on any platform other than Apple's iOS claiming that Android doesn't yet support Bluetooth 4.0 and that the platform is currently too unstable and lacking in quality. "At Tile, the quality of our products is of utmost importance, and until there exists an Android platform that meets our quality standards, we will not be releasing a Tile app for Android," the company says in a statement on its website.

The company is also quick to stress that Tile is an evolving technology. Future iterations of the device will be cheaper and will last for longer before their power fades.

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