Samsung has announced a new Galaxy SmartTag2 tracker to help you find your lost possessions, but it pales in comparison to what we were hoping for from the Pixel 8 event – Google's long-rumored answer to the Apple AirTags.
The new SmartTag2 ($30 / AU$55, around £25) looks like a decent upgrade on its predecessor, as long as you own a UWB-compatible Samsung Galaxy phone (like the Galaxy S23 Ultra). It brings a better battery life (up to 700 days, twice as long as before) and a more compact, ring-shaped design to help you attach it to objects.
The new tracker is also water-resistant and has IP67 dust resistance, which should make it more durable. But the most powerful upgrade is that new UWB (ultra-wideband) connectivity, which allows a new Compass View to show you pretty precisely how far you are from your lost keys and where to find them.
The SmartTag2's Bluetooth connection also gives it a decent 120m range. But the problem is that you still need to use the SmartThings Find app on your Samsung phone to follow the tracker. This means you can only use it with a Samsung phone and also that it isn't compatible with the much larger Android Find My Device network, which is due to roll out properly later this year.
The answer is Google is probably still waiting for Apple to update iOS so the tech giants can finalize their joint specification for unwanted tracker alerts. Google and Apple announced the initiative back in May, but in July Google said it was waiting for Apple to "implement protections for iOS" before it rolled out its full Android Find My Device network.
Once that happens, Google will truly have a tracker network to rival Apple's Find My system and AirTags. This is because compatible trackers (from the likes of Tile and, hopefully, Google itself) will be able to anonymously piggyback on many of the world's billions of Android devices, rather than relying on far more limited networks like Samsung's SmartThings Find.
Google's AirTags rival is still coming
We've previously seen some compelling rumors that Google is working on its own AirTag tracker. Back in May, the leaker Kamila Wojciechowska suggested that the tracker (codenamed 'grogu') was being developed by the Nest team.
Like the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag2, this tracker was tipped to support both UWB (Ultra Wideband) and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) for precise object-finding. But Google's own AirTag rival would also crucially support Android's upgraded Find My Device network.
Despite our hopes that this might appear at the Pixel 8 event, it looks like Google has been forced to delay it until later this year – which would make sense, as the Find My Device network rollout is also expected sometime "by the end of this year".
This has also hit third-party tracker makers like Chipolo, whose One Point tracker for the Find My Device network is still only available for pre-order and presumably won't ship until later this year.
In the meantime, the Galaxy SmartTag2 looks like a decent option for Galaxy fans, but the real revolution for Android-based object tracking is still to come.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.