It is finally shipping in late May

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Google has been gearing up on the software side of things to enable a Bluetooth tracking network on Android, and the company’s two tracking tag hardware partners, Pebblebee and Chipolo, now have ship dates.
The two companies each have a press release today, with Pebblebee saying its trackers will ship in “late May,” while Chipolo says it will ship “after May 27th.”
Google has a blog post out, too, promising “additional Bluetooth tags from Eufy, Jio, Motorola and more” later this year.
Both companies are offering little Bluetooth trackers in a keychain tag or credit card format, and Pebblebee has a third stick-on tag format.
They’ll all be anonymously tracked by Android’s 3 billion-device Bluetooth tracker network, and the device owner will be able to see them in Google’s “Find my device” app.
Chipolo’s “One Point” key chain tag is the only thing that takes a CR2032 coin cell battery, while the company’s credit card tracker is not rechargeable.
Pebblebee’s key chain, credit card, and stick-on tracker all have rechargeable batteries, including the wallet card, which is very rare!
Google’s patch notes say that the tracking network shipped in Android in December 2022, even though nothing is using it.

NEUTRAL

With an announcement that was ultimately made a year ahead of schedule, Tile/AirTags for Android is now prepared for release. Pebblebee and Chipolo, Google’s two hardware partners for tracking tags, have set ship dates. Google has also been working hard on software to enable a Bluetooth tracking network on Android. In press releases released today, the two companies state that their trackers will ship “late May” for Pebblebee and “after May 27th” for Chipolo. Additionally, Google promises “more Bluetooth tags from Jio, Motorola, Eufy, and more” later this year in a blog post.

It’s been a year since both sets of devices were available for preorder, and nothing seems to have changed. Both businesses sell tiny Bluetooth trackers in the form of credit card or keychain tags, and Pebblebee also offers a third stick-on tag format. The owner of the device will be able to view them in Google’s “Find my device” app, and they will all be tracked anonymously by Android’s 3 billion-device Bluetooth tracker network.

The company’s credit card tracker is not rechargeable, but its “One Point” key chain tag is the only item that requires a CR2032 coin cell battery. Not a single Pebblebee product has UWB for precise location tracking—everything uses a speaker. Rechargeable batteries power the credit card, stick-on tracker, and key chain—even the wallet card, which is extremely uncommon. Both businesses offer several SKUs of what appear to be the same product, but they are restricted to the networks of Google and Apple, making switching impossible.

Originally, all of these were scheduled to release in 2023. Although no one is using the tracking network, Google’s patch notes state that it shipped with Android in December 2022. In actuality, the business has been waiting on Apple. A joint standard for “unknown tracker” alerts was announced by Google and Apple in May 2023. Although the two networks won’t work together, they will cooperate to notify users when a tracker is being used to follow them. A week after the announcement of all of this hardware, Google shipped what a spokesman described as “a custom implementation” for AirTags in July 2023, allowing Android phones to notify users of an unknown AirTag. The company also stated that it would not activate its tracking network until the joint tracking detection standard with Apple was completed. It appears that iOS 17.5 will see Apple take that action. These tags will finally be able to ship when iOS 17.5 releases, which is anticipated to happen at the end of May.

Update, 9:59 p.m.: According to a Google representative, the July release of Google’s unwelcome AirTag detection for Android is “a custom implementation,” not the shared standard.

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