Smartphone apps help you solve a common problem

If you're a tech fan with a propensity to place crucial objects (e.g. keys, wallet, etc.) in strange locations about your house (ADD?) then TrackR's wallet and StickR tags seemed potentially to be the solution you've been searching for.

I thought up the premise of this product years ago -- a tag you attach to your keys, wallet, etc. -- but was disappointed to see in never came to the market.  But some companies -- including TrackR -- are finally making that vision a reality with wireless tags coupled with smartphone apps.

At CES Unveiled the best such solution I saw was TrackR, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based startup.  Speaking with company cofounder Chris Herbert I learned about how he in February reached out to crowdsourcing platform IndieGogo to get the $10,000 USD he needed to develop the rectangular wallet tracker tag.

Overwhelmed by the $47,000+ USD response, he brought in more people and launched a second IndieGogo campaign to make a round fob that can be attached to a keychain or stuck on various objects.  This goal was not only reached, it pulled in a whopping $352,000 USD, which was good enough to attract venture capital backing.

The TrackR key fob, in hand [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Now his firm is on the big stage showing off its wares.  A glasses tracker was considered, but felt short of its funding raising goal -- nonetheless it may be a target TrackR eventually returns to.

The TrackR devices use the latest and greatest Bluetooth 4.0 protocol, a low power wireless profile that allows them to have a full year of battery life.

TrackRTrackR interfaces wireless with your tablet or smartphone.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Versus many of the vendors at unveiled one thing that impressed me was that Chris spent the time to program a TrackR app for Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android, as well as Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS.  As like last year, most connected peripherals still remained iOS only, despite the fact that iOS occupies as little as a quarter of the U.S. market.

TrackR smartphone
TrackR's smartphone app is available for Android and iOS.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Turning away three out of four paying customers is foolish. I understand Android is a bit harder to program for than iOS, but it's still pure laziness to refuse to support the world's most used smartphone platform.  I was on a fence about writing an article about TrackR, given the wealth of connected products, but the Android app set TrackR a notch above many of its show floor competitors.  TrackR's app integrates local mapping services on each platform, as well as offering unique features like an anti-theft mode (which has the tag ring when it goes out of range of the phone), a hot-cold finder mode, and a crowdsourced database to see if anyone else found your missing keys/etc.

TrackR is also aggressively pricing the Wallet and StickR TrackR tags, which sell for $29 a piece, 2 for $39 (~$19.50 USD per unit), or 5 for $90 ($16 USD per unit).

TrackR wallet and keys
TrackR began shipping to its crowdsourcing supporters in December.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Chris Herbert says the devices began shipping to the IndieGogo sponsors on Dec. 31. 

A final bit of background on the device's inspiration -- Chris Herbert related an entertaining story of what gave him the idea of founding TrackR.  Apparently his car was parked on a Santa Barbara shoreline surfing spot.  After some fun he went back to his car and realized he didnt have his keys.  As the tide advanced his car was literally in danger of washing away.  He was able to work it out, but the experience inspired him to invent TrackR.  The rest, as they say, is history.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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