One of the greatest things about tech is how it can help solve problems. Especially problems that we always thought we’d just have to live with, like losing our stuff. Or kids losing their stuff. So it’s been extra cool to see a wave of new devices that help keep track of both our stuff and our kids’ stuff, LoJack style. Or hey, they even help us keep track of our kids themselves.
Tile: Tile uses Bluetooth 4.0 and a free iOS app for tracking items from your handbag to your keys. The Tile battery lasts a year, and Tile provides a means of exchanging old Tiles for new ones which is reassuring. While some Android devices do support Bluetooth 4.0 (or BLE), Tile’s creators are concerned about the stability of BLE in Android apps. We actually think it’s smart of Tile to wait on releasing an Android app if they’re concerned that their devices won’t work consistently on that platform. But for now? Apple owners are in luck. ($18.95)
Lapa: Lapa is raising funds via Indiegogo through November, with devices scheduled to ship in early 2014. Lapa calls itself a social finder because of the innovative Facebook and email integration–if you lose your Lapa, you can notify Facebook friends and email contacts to help you out. Or you can even go public and ask all Lapa users to help you. We’re not so sure how useful these features will be in practice, but then again, I once saw a woman locate and recover her stolen bicycle in Boulder with the help of Twitter.
One cool difference between Lapa and Tile is Lapa’s safety mode. Put a Lapa on your keys, phone, passport, or child’s backpack, and in safety mode Lapa will alert you if it moves out of the preset range. I can see Lapa being a lifesaver in airport security lines, for one. It also uses a replaceable coin cell battery, so you don’t have to swap out Lapas. Finally, Lapa will be Android compatible–I expect the creators are betting that stability issues will be worked out by 2014. ($22 contribution, plus shipping)
Linquet: Linquet has already completed their fundraising and is planning for a December launch. But one key difference between Linquet and both Tile and Lapa is the cost: The coin-cell operated Linquets are billed as a monthly subscription instead of a flat fee.
Linquet offers the same sort of safety mode as Lapa, but with greater customization. You can set up different ranges for each Linquet depending on what it’s attached to. For example, you might attach a Linquet to your keys and your cat’s collar, but you’d set a shorter range for your keys than for your cat. (Meaning your cat’s allowed to wander farther than your keys are, before Linquet sounds an alarm. Unless your cat has actually got your keys. Not sure what happens then.)
Like Lapa, Linquet is apparently confident that the kinks will be worked out between Android and BLE, so Linquet will be compatible with both iOS and Android devices. ($2.99/month subscription)