Samsung Electronics has introduced its own version of Apple’s Find My feature to locate devices – though, naturally, it will only work with Galaxy devices, from smartphones to tablets to smartwatches to individual earbuds.
The feature, called SmartThings Find, locates devices using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Ultra Wideband (UWB) – a WiFi-less tracking method similar to what Apple has been rumored to be developing. SmartThings Find is now available on Samsung's Galaxy devices globally after the service was tested by 6 million users in South Korea, the USA and the UK for about two months, the company said in a press statement.
Sadly, older devices may not be able to run the feature, which is coming in a software update for on Galaxy smartphones and tablets running Android 8 or later, Galaxy Watch smartwatches powered by Tizen 5.5 or above, and Galaxy Buds Plus and Galaxy Buds Live wireless earbuds.
The technology behind SmartThings Find
After completing a quick registration process, SmartThings users can easily find their Galaxy devices – from smartphones, tablets and smartwatches, down to each individual earbud.
While the app uses BLE and UWB technologies to track the devices, it shows their locations in an AR interface to help users see where their Galaxy products actually are.
"With the added advantage of using AR6 in conjunction with maps and sounds to guide you back to your devices, SmartThings Find is a simple and visual solution that will help you easily locate your favorite devices. This is just one example of the new meaningful mobile experiences that UWB technology will bring to people across the world,” said Jaeyeon Jung, Vice President and Head of SmartThings Team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics.
According to Samsung: Once a device has been offline for 30 minutes, it produces a BLE signal that can be received by other devices "If you report your device as lost via SmartThings Find, any nearby Galaxy smartphone or tablet that has opted into helping find misplaced devices can alert the Samsung server about its location, which will in turn notify you."
The service is also set to offer integrated map directions and sounds for users to quickly find a lost device.
Once you're close to your device, you can choose to either have your device 'ring' or locate it using the augmented reality-based search nearby function, which displays color graphics that increase in intensity when you are getting closer to your device, the company said.
All SmartThings Find user data is encrypted and securely protected, ensuring that the device’s location is not revealed to anyone except its owner.
SmartThings Find is similar to 'Find My App' that are native to Apple devices.
Samsung to add this service to other devices, too
The highlight of the service is it will allow users to find their missing devices even if they are offline.
Samsung said it plans to start expanding such solutions to tracking tags early next year, so that users can locate not only Galaxy devices but also other items.
"We are excited to also be working closely with leading companies in the item-finding space to both expand this experience and enable you to find more of the belongings you care about most," said Jung Jae-yeon.
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David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.