The tracker market is really starting to heat up. Apple finally unveiled its AirTags yesterday, but if you're the owner of a Samsung smartphone, you have another option for keeping lost items in check. SmartTags have been around since January, offering an alternative to Tile for anyone in the Galaxy ecosystem. While Apple held its event, Samsung took the opportunity to highlight some new features for its own trackers, including Unknown Tag Search and voice command support.
Starting next week, you can use your phone to scan the nearby area for tags that don't belong to you. Samsung is positioning this as a security measure, giving peace of mind that no one has placed a tag in your backpack to track you home. It's sort of similar to Apple's lost AirTag function, which supports NFC to read a found tracker. However, unlike that feature, this isn't intended as a way to return a tag to its rightful owner — it's to ensure you aren't being followed.
SmartTags are designed to work exclusively within Samsung's ecosystem, so Bixby support arrives next week for hands-free searching. Asking Bixby to find a tracker automatically shares its location with you. While Google Assistant would be a nice inclusion to have, you shouldn't hold your breath. If you've been waiting for voice commands to come to SmartTags, this is likely the best you're going to get.
Samsung also used yesterday's Apple event as an opportunity to show off its new AR tracking mode for the SmartTag+. Its UWB-equipped gadget has been available for purchase since last week, complete with support for displaying the location of lost items using augmented reality. Whether or not SmartTags will succeed in a post-AirTags world remains to be seen, but it's good to see Samsung continuing to add features to its trackers.