Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag 2 was a no-show at Galaxy Fold 5 launch, but considering it was just spotted at the Federal Communications Commission by 9to5Google, it should be out on store shelves eventually. A Galaxy SmartTag, if you haven’t heard, is a Bluetooth tracker, just like a Tile or AirTag, but from Samsung. Previous versions have only worked with Samsung phones.
The FCC listing features a picture of this thing, and unlike the square, Tile-clone design of the original Galaxy SmartTag, this is definitely unique. It’s a flat, pill-shaped device with a huge key ring hole at the top. It sort of looks like a cigar cutter. If that’s actually a normal key ring-sized hole, this is about twice the size of an AirTag.
Just like the Galaxy SmartTag+, this device will come with UWB (ultra-wideband) tracking, which will help locate the device when it’s nearby. When it’s far away, you will rely on the device’s smartphone network. Previously this device popped up in the Bluetooth SIG database, where it was listed with Bluetooth 5.3, which should make it more battery efficient than the old Bluetooth 5.1 tag.
Android Bluetooth trackers will become much more viable once Google’s tracking network goes live. All these Bluetooth trackers don’t include their own GPS modules or Internet access, and instead, they rely on nearby smartphones for data and location. This works even on other people’s smartphones, making for an anonymous, crowd-sourced data and location network, provided the tracker is compatible with the nearby smartphone. For Apple’s AirTags, they can have their location updated by any nearby iPhone, making for a huge network. Google’s Android network, once it gets up and running, would be the world’s largest. The plan is to roll it out via Google Play Services instead of an OS update, so it would work across all 3 billion Android phones. Google is taking the partnership approach with this network, allowing third-party hardware manufacturers to plug into it. If you’re not buying an AirTag, something on the Android network sounds like a no-brainer option.
Samsung’s first few Galaxy Tags only spun up a network using modern Samsung phones, which isn’t going to be as effective as bigger networks. It’s not known if Samsung is willing to adopt the bigger Google network, but right now, the network could really use a major hardware player. Tile will supposedly adopt it someday, but other than that, it’s a bunch of smaller vendors.
Google’s Bluetooth network has been delayed, though. Google recently rolled out Android stalking detection for Apple’s AirTags (the two companies have a partnership for stalking detection) but also delayed its own network until Apple could reciprocate with Android stalking detection on iOS. We’re sure Apple is burning the midnight oil trying to get its competition on even footing as soon as possible, so who knows when Google’s network will launch.
Samsung’s new smart tag launch is similarly up in the air, with the product missing the boat on Samsung’s big product launch last week. You know, if the new Galaxy SmartTag does use Google’s network and had planned to launch last week, it would have to be delayed along with Google’s network.