Apple released its AirTags earlier this year, but companies like TrackR, Tile and Chipolo have been doing Bluetooth-based trackers for much longer. I supported TrackR on Indiegogo back in 2014 when it raised over US$1 million, and I bought a pack of ten Bravo tags. TrackR always seemed to be teetering on the edge of greatness but never quite made that breakthrough and, sadly, it now appears that it’s fallen into the abyss. A message on its website says, “We regret to inform you that TrackR will no longer be supported on Apple or Android devices after August 15, 2021. We want to thank you for your trust and support throughout the years. We hope TrackR was the perfect resolution for finding your lost items.”
TrackR’s products weren’t perfect – the Bravo was a bit quiet and the battery door on the Pixel was tricky – but it got many things right. Tracking could be shared across multiple devices, e.g. your tablet and your phone; there was family sharing so your phone could report on the presence of your partner’s bag; and if you lost your keys, the TrackR community could look for them on your behalf.
And TrackR really did save the day. I remember one time I dropped my car keys in the boot (trunk) of my car. Somehow the keys managed to fall below the removable floor and into the spare tyre well. Without the TrackR tag beeping away and guiding the way, I would never have found the keys in just a few minutes. It would never have occurred to me to look below the boot floor.
TrackR rebranded as Adero back in 2018 as it looked to move beyond tracking tags, but that website has gone dark too.
For now, the TrackR app continues to work as long as I don’t log out of the app, but it looks like if I move to a new phone, the tags will become e-waste, which is a shame. I’ll have to look for a replacement. Samsung’s SmartTags only work with their phones and tablets, which is disappointing, so I suspect I’ll be looking at Tile instead.