Nokia Launches $30 NFC Tag For Keeping Tabs On Your Phone’s Whereabouts

Nokia has unveiled a new accessory designed to make sure users of its Lumia smartphone are never parted from their handset. Or at least, that when they leave the house with their tagged keys or bag, they’ll be reminded to pick up their phone too. Or vice versa.

Called Treasure Tag, the smart fob can be paired via NFC or Bluetooth 4.0 with a Lumia smartphone running the Lumia Black update to link the two devices — so that if either one moves out of range of the other an alarm sounds on both to alert the user that all is not well with their favourite gadget.

Now there are scores and scores of startups building lost and found gizmos. One of which, Tile, which we covered last summer, managed to amass $2.6 million in crowdfunding before the field started getting insanely crowdedAnd now Nokia has thrown its hat into the ring — although most lost and found startups aren’t going to see the Treasure Tag as any kind of competition.

For one thing, Nokia’s system is currently* a closed one, limited to use with a sub-set of Lumia smartphones, rather than allowing the ability to tag any kind of treasured possession (inanimate or otherwise). (*Nokia does say there will also be third-party apps for Treasure Tag to support Android and iOS devices in future.)

Nokia’s tag also offers a very limited feature-set vs some of the more elaborate tracker tag concepts out there. Whereas Tile’s plan, for instance, is to build a distributed network of other Tile users so that the community  of users can expand its location-pinpointing range, Treasure Tag is not so smart, with only the paired link between phone and tag to go on.

So expect its alarm to sound when you’re popping to the toilet with your keys in your pocket but not your phone, for instance. (The alarm can be muted or put to sleep via the corresponding app, or you can long press on the tag itself to deactivate it — all of which sounds like a fair bit of hassle.)Treasure Tag app

The Treasure Tag system also supports locating a lost tagged item, such as your keys or bag, on a map within the app — or it will if you are within range of it. It can only report the last known location, so if the item has been moved since it’s not going to turn up.

And if you want to tag multiple items to link them to your phone, you’ll need to buy multiple Treasure Tags. Up to four different tags can be simultaneously connected to the handset — with the ability to assign ready-made icons to each (such as a keys icon), or use a photo, to try and make the managing multiple tags scenario less confusing.

Either way, with the tags themselves being relatively large vs some of the tracker startup competition — each Treasure Tag is a roughly matchbox sized 30 x 30 x 10mm — it’s not exactly an elegant solution to forgetfulness. Forget slipping a tag inside your wallet, for instance, as you can with the likes of Protag Elite.

The battery life of each Treasure Tag is pegged at ‘up to six months’. A standard coin cell type battery that’s user replaceable powers each tag.

Nokia said it expects the Treasure Tag to go on sale via global retailers in April, costing €24,90 ($29.90). Colour options are the bright yellow and cyan that Nokia also uses for its phone range, as well as white or black.