One of the defining features of Tile’s Bluetooth trackers is the ability to tap into a crowdsourced network to help you find your things. Any users’ Tile app, not just your own, can ping the whereabouts of your tracker, allowing you to locate your stuff even if it’s miles away. (The company has sold over 30 million Tile units, so there are a lot of users out there to help with the crowd-sourcing.) But what if this fails? Well, to keep your mind at ease, Tile has just announced a new Premium Protect level of service where the company will actually reimburse you up to $1,000 per year if Tile is unable to help you find your lost item within seven days.
Premium Protect is essentially one step up from Tile’s existing Premium plan, which includes smart alerts (these ping you when you’ve left something behind); free battery replacements; unlimited sharing; extended location history; an extended hardware warranty; and expanded customer care. But while the Premium plan runs $30 a year (or $3 a month), Premium Protect will cost you $100 a year.
The Premium Protect service will cover not just Tile trackers but also Tile-enabled partner products like SkullCandy earbuds and the HP Elite Dragonfly laptop. The service warranty is provided in partnership with Cover Genius, a company known for providing insurance and protection services for companies such as eBay, Booking.com and Wayfair. In order to have something covered by Premium Protect, you simply have to sign up for the service, register the associated Tile, take a photo of the item, and you’re done.
“Item Reimbursement will apply equally to the products that you put a Tile on, as well as the products that have Tile embedded in it,” said Tile CEO CJ Prober.
That might sound a little like insurance but, according to the company, it isn’t. Instead, Tile says that Premium Protect is a service warranty on the Tile network, and not an insurance policy on the item itself. That’s why if the Tile network is able to locate the item, but you’re unable to safely retrieve it (say it’s in the bottom of a ravine, or in a particularly dangerous area), then the company wouldn’t be able to reimburse you for the item. But, if the Tile app gives you erroneous information like an incorrect address, or if you go to the location and are unable to ring your Tile, you can still file a claim for review.
The idea of this service might make you a little uneasy that the Tile tracker isn’t very reliable, but the company of course says that the Tile network is able to find 90 percent of items marked as lost. That still leaves around 10 percent that can’t be found (which the company says can be due to the tracker being out of range, or if the network isn’t dense enough in that area), which is what this additional protection service is for.
The addition of services like Premium and Premium Protect is one way Tile is attempting to differentiate itself from the competition. One potential rival is Apple’s upcoming AirTags, which has been rumored for a while now.
Instead of using Bluetooth, Apple’s AirTags will supposedly use the U1 Ultra Wideband sensor that’s already used in the latest iPhones and likely the next-gen iPhones, too. This technology could lead to improved range and more accurate location tracking than regular Bluetooth trackers.
“Tile is for everyone,” said Prober, when asked about Apple’s AirTags. “Our customers aren’t forced to choose a single platform and are advantaged by Tile being system-agnostic. We work with Android, Apple and other platforms people are already using and want to use to help find their lost stuff.” Prober added that he welcomes the competition, as long as it’s on a level playing field.
Tile’s Premium Protect service will arrive this fall, though a specific date has yet to be announced.