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About $47 billion worth of items are lost each year, and most people spend nearly a year of their life looking for their lost things. That’s according to Tile, the startup behind an eponymous brand of Bluetooth trackers that recently attracted investment from Comcast. At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, months after taking the wraps off a refreshed hardware lineup, the San Mateo company today announced the next phase of its expansion plan: on-chip integration.
This year, thanks to partnerships with Qualcomm, Dialog Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, Toshiba, and other Bluetooth chip manufacturers, Tile’s item-tracking tech will make its way to hardware reference designs through the Find with Tile program. Qualcomm, for example, will offer Tile as a part of its Extension Program for Voice and Music, which extends the capabilities of Qualcomm’s audio platforms with directly licensable software features.
Ultimately, the goal is to make it easier for product manufacturers to enable products with tracking technology, said Tile CEO Charles (CJ) Prober.
“Through [Bluetooth] chip partnerships, Tile will quickly become a foundational building block for [Bluetooth]-enabled product manufacturers in a variety of verticals, from audio and cameras to laptops and wearables,” he said in a statement. “With over 20 billion [Bluetooth] devices forecasted to ship in the next four years, ‘Find with Tile’ will soon be a key everyday feature in consumer products.”
Additionally, Tile this week announced new collaborations with Sennheiser, Sol Republic, Plantronics, and Soundcore by Anker, all four of which will release Tile-enabled products in the coming months. They’ll build on Tile’s integrations in Bose’s SoundSport headphones and Skullcandy’s Venue, and its existing partnerships with Herschel and Blunt Umbrellas.
“The ability to offer new benefits … to our customers differentiates us in the marketplace,” said Jason Hodell, CEO at Skullcandy. “Knowing Tile’s finding technology will be available for activation at the production phase makes integration fast and seamless, and opens new ideas for how we can use it from product conception.”
Third-party devices and embedded chips with Tile support will offer the same range of features as first-party products like the Tile Mate and Tile Pro. That includes access to Tile Premium, a $30-a-year (or $3-a-month) subscription service that adds functionality such as Smart Alerts, which notify you with a text message when you leave a geofenced area (e.g., home or work) without a Tile-enabled device, and Location History, which shows a map of addresses of all the places your Tile devices have been in the last 30 days. Tile Premium members also get priority customer care via phone.
“It’s clear that over time, a majority of users are going to come from [platform] products,” Simon Fleming-Wood, Tile’s chief experience officer, told VentureBeat in an earlier interview. “We want to get Tile in as many products as possible.”
Tile has sold more than 15 million Bluetooth-enabled trackers in 230 countries and reports that its trackers collectively locate 4 million items daily with a 90 percent success rate. That’s quite an impressive climb from 2 million key fobs four years ago, and 10 million in May 2017.
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