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Tile’s tiny Bluetooth stuff-tracker now works with Android

Tile’s tiny Bluetooth stuff-tracker now works with Android

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Tile's promise to track your stuff with small Bluetooth squares last year made it one of the biggest crowd-funded successes ever, raising nearly $2.7 million worth of orders in just a month. What's taken the company a lot longer is making enough Tiles for all the people who bought it, as well as getting them to connect to something other than Apple's iPhones and iPads. Today the company says both those problems have been solved, with it fully catching up on preorders, and with a new app for Android users that lets them connect with their Tiles.

The Android app, which hits Google's Play Store today, will work with every Tile the company has shipped so far. It's a different story in terms of what phones it works with, with the app requiring Android 4.4 KitKat or higher, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. Tile says it's also only optimized its software for a handful of phones, including Samsung's Galaxy S5, the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, HTC One, and HTC One M8.

Not every feature is there just yet

This first Android version is also not quite on par with the one Tile made for iOS. You're only able to connect it to between four and six Tiles at any given time because of the differences in Bluetooth radios that ship on some of the supported devices, versus iOS' eight. And missing is the option to mark one of those Tiles as lost, so that it will send you notifications if it's picked up somewhere (by another Tile user, for instance). Tile's VP of marketing Brian Katzman says the company is trying to bring this to Android as fast as possible, but notes that Tile didn't have it ready in time for its launch on iOS either. That software update is set to be released sometime in the next three months, but in the meantime you can still track your stuff.

Tile on Android (Tile)

Tile is mum on how many orders it's received in total, with Katzman saying only that the company received more than 50,000 pre-orders, totaling $2.68 million. Since then, the company's taken and fulfilled many more orders, he said, as well as expanded its sales to Amazon. It's also grown its team to include Android engineers who will work to optimize the app for more devices.

Tile still can't help you from being stupid

Tile is far from the only company building these tiny Bluetooth trackers, and faces a growing number of competitors that recently began to include very large companies like Motorola, Nokia, and HTC. Tile's big sell over these has been that its trackers talk to one another over Bluetooth to let the tags stay in contact with its network, making features like the lost mode possible — and effective. But even with that feature, Katzman says, Tile's technology can only do so much to help forgetful humans.

"In Seattle, a guy parked his rental car and left, and when he came back his car was gone. He marked it as lost, filed a police report, the whole thing," Katzman says. "A couple of days later, he got a notification from his Tile. It turns out he'd parked it one block away and didn't bother to look."