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Intel and Tile team up to prevent laptop loss woes

by Mark Tyson on 8 May 2020, 12:41

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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You might know of Tile for its item finder dongles. The firm makes its gadgets in a number of form factors, like stickers and coins but the most iconic and probably widely used design is like a key fob. Yesterday Tile announced a collaboration with Intel and its OEMs to add its finder technology to laptops.

"Most of the world is working from home right now, making laptops and portable devices more critical than ever. We rely on them to maintain continuity and keep information safe. But we're also relying on them to stay connected with loved ones," said CJ Prober, CEO of Tile. "Our work with Intel means we'll be ready to help PC users avoid disruption and keep track of their devices once we're all on the move again."

Tile recently announced a contract with HP (In the HP Elite DragonFly laptop, pictured above) but this Intel collaboration will make its technology much more widespread in PCs. Ambitiously Tile hopes to integrate its technology into approx 30 billion consumer electronic devices over the next five years.

So how does Tile tracking work? The existing Bluetooth LE based Tile products can make a ringing sound when in range of your smartphone - just open your app, select the device and click Find. Alternatively, you can find your phone from your Tile device by double pressing the button on the Tile to make your phone ring, even when it is on silent. In addition to the above audible finding / alerts, the Tile app lets you check a map for where you might have left Tile equipped items behind - the last 'seen' location.

You might be wondering about things lost beyond the rather limited range of your smartphone's Bluetooth radio. Tile has a feature called 'community find' to help you in this situation. This lets you "anonymously recruit the entire Tile community to help you find it". Perhaps importantly, the Tile app running on third party devices will send location updates to your app, letting only you know where your lost Tile is.

The existing Tile portfolio uses a replaceable CR1632 battery which is guaranteed for one year from activation. I can't see any details about whether the laptop integrated Tile will use a similar independent battery, or piggy-back off the laptop power, or be flexible in this regard.

Tile says that 6 million unique items are located every day through the Tile network in 195 countries worldwide - this is a 90 per cent finding success rate. With the Tile ecosystem growing substantially over the next five years it will surely become even better, community wise.

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so intel want to help people find their things? Will they also be providing tracking for data stolen through all those side-channel vulnerabilities they still haven't patched?