Thanks to a newly announced partnership between Coolpad and Sprint, subscribers can now track just about any real-world object in real time.
The appropriately branded Coolpad Tracker is a "matchbook-sized" gadget that essentially attaches to almost anything that it might be problematic to lose track of or have taken out of a given area. A strap is used to attach the device to an object. That includes anything from a backpack or luggage to bicycles or vehicles and, for keeping tabs on pets, a pet collar accessory is available too.
Tracking itself is made possible via Sprint's Safe & Found service, previously used primarily as a means for family members on a plan with Sprint to keep an eye on one another's location. Specifically, that has served as a family location tracking app and service, keeping devices on a plan connected at all times where a network is available.
The app provides alerts and geo-fencing restrictions for managed devices as well as other services such as device locking or wiping and emergency alerts.
Details on the device and service
The tracker itself is built to be water-resistant, with a minimal proprietary branch of Linux OS and hardware designed to allow for long battery life.
Simple location tracking is already available in tones of devices but this gadget goes somewhat further. Sprint's Safe & Found app ensures that users can set up geo-fencing zones where the device is supposed to be and receive notifications if the device leaves those areas.
Location updates and check-ins can be had via the same app as well as other alerts and historical data for locations is stored for review later if needed. At the same time, the gadget has built-in light sensor detection features and a speaker that will make it easy to find if it's been attached to anything that's easily lost whether that's a child or car keys.
That all works anywhere the carrier's network is available and 4G compatibility keeps latency in the alerts and updates to a minimum regardless of how big the distance between the tracking device and a linked smartphone happens to be.
Not entirely new but still useful and not expensive
Tracking devices such as the new one on offer from Sprint and Coolpad aren't necessarily a new development but typically ship in the form of a wearable or rely solely on a smartphone. Others in the category are also typically reliant on Wi-Fi or are limited by Bluetooth connectivity, with only a few exceptions.
Even competitors like Tile typically rely on Bluetooth connectivity between multiple devices to create a longer-than-usual range for tracking. That also means that once the connection is broken, the location of the tracked object or child in question is lost. So, especially where any device that can be easily moved over long distances is concerned, this gadget from Sprint is going to be more useful than most other options.
With regard to cost and availability. Sprint says the Coolpad Tracker is available now and costs as little as $2.50 on a per month basis over the course of 24 months — equating to around $60 once all is said and done. The Safe & Found service costs $5 per month per Tracker.
That's backed by Sprint's standard 30-day return policy, allowing customers to return it for any reason within the first month if they aren't satisfied with the product for a full refund of all related costs.