Sprint is getting into the tracker game. Called "Tracker + Safe & Found," the fourth largest wireless carrier is introducing a new "matchbook-size" physical tracker that attaches to items such as keys, backpacks, bikes and luggage (with a dog-collar option available as well). The device combines with Sprint's LTE network and the Safe & Found app to provide real-time monitoring for phones or tablets or from a web browser.
Sprint will charge $2.50 per month (for 24 months) for the physical tracker, with service running an extra $5 per month (when on AutoPay). All told, the $180 price (after 24 months of payments) is significantly higher than the current one-time $30 cost of a Tile Pro tracker, though Tile's product relies on Bluetooth for tracking.
The Tile Pro's battery is replaceable and doesn't need to be recharged, Sprint's Tracker, which is water- and dust-resistant, uses LTE and Wi-Fi in addition to GPS for a more accurate, real-time connection. The more powerful connection does have a trade-off in power, requiring users to recharge the battery.
Battery life is rated for between 3 and 10 days, with Sprint saying that the app will notify users when the battery drops below 15% to ensure the device can be recharged.
Sprint's device has a speaker built-in, like Tile, for helping locate missing objects while the app lets you set up geofences for alerts when a child, pet or object ventures outside a preapproved radius. A light sensor allows for the device to be thrown in a suitcase or bag, letting you know if that bag has been opened.
Verizon's tracker, called the Verizon Smart Locator, costs a one-time charge of $100, with service running $3 per month (though a current promotion will see Verizon waive the fee after activation for the first year).
AT&T and Samsung have partnered on a SmartThings tracker that currently sells for a one-time charge of $85, with one year of LTE service included. After one year, however, service will be $5 per month or $50 for the year.
The monitoring space is expected to get more crowded, with Apple also rumored to be to work with its new Find My app.