Monday, February 2, 2015

4 Tiles 4 Sale, Cheap.

I crowdsource-funded the Tile tracker. They arrived around the holidays this last year. I've set up three of them, and here are some thoughts.


  1. Pretty little Apple-design-inspired gadgets. White, with rounded corners, and a lovely, subtle font. They are fun to hold, lightweight, smooth, attractive. Almost like little techie worry-stones.
  2. They play a cute little tune when they are found.


  1. Tile tracking is only as accurate as the last Bluetooth and GPS connection they had to your phone. If you have your Bluetooth and GPS on all the time, that's one thing. I don't, because it's a battery suck for me.
  2. The Tile will only make a sound if the app is close enough to connect to Bluetooth. If you always lose your keys in the couch cushions, then it may be useful. However, I'd expect you might look there anyway, if you do it frequently enough.
  3. GPS is not super precise. The app can tell you the Tile was last seen in your house, or "on Golden Valley Road" when it was traveling with you in the car. So, if you think it's still in the house, you have to walk around with the app searching via Bluetooth.
  4. I have no good use case for these, despite using them for a couple of months and checking out Pinterest pins. Here are a couple of simple scenarios I came up with.
    1. Lost my keys: So, let's say I'm going out for a walk. I leave my phone and take my keys with me. Drop the keys on the street, get home, notice keys are missing, check the Tile App. Tile App says, "I don't know. Last time I saw them, they were in the house."
    2. Wallet stolen: I go out with friends, take my phone and wallet. Fortunately, I had GPS and Bluetooth turned on (which I rarely do). On arriving home, my wallet is missing. The Tile App tells me "Last time I saw it, it was at Bob's Burger Barn." Go to Bob's, there is no sign of the wallet. Turns out, it was stolen. Perpetrator took the Tile off and tossed it in a dumpster. Or didn't. Either way, the phone isn't close enough to find it.
    3. Track your teenager: Hide a Tile in his coat pocket. He goes out with friends. The Tile App on your phone says, "Last time, I saw him, he was at the house. It's not my fault you lost him."
I think the most misleading expectation is that the Tile does not have its own geolocation capability. It cannot be found via GPS no matter where it is. It will not beam a signal to the Mother Ship. It will not phone home.

4 Tiles 4 sale, cheap.

1 comment:

  1. I ordered one of these in their crowdfunding campaign. I have to admit, I usually manage to misplace my car keys somewhere in my house and the app has been pretty good about locating them for me. The sound could be louder, in addition to some of the cons you pointed out. Concept was great...