Bluetooth-enabled tracking tags for finding keys and other household items aren’t anything new, but a particularly robust tag called PebbleBee hit Kickstarter recently that introduces a few new tricks. The main use case here is so that you get a buzz on your iPhone if your child goes outside of a certain range, or if you forget your keys at a coffee shop. There are two models PebbleBee has introduced: the Honey and the Hornet.
The Honey sports an internal speaker and LED to help you find lost items using your iPhone. It includes a keyring loop and an adhesive-friendly back, depending on where you want to affix it, and is sealed for water resistance. A multi-function button is embedded on the side, which can buzz your phone, initiate a call on the paired phone, and a few other tasks. The Hornet includes all of that, plus temperature alerts and detailed motion tracking thanks to a 9-axis gyroscope and compass, with either live or replay data on your iPhone.
Battery life lasts for 3 years with intermittent usage, and unlike Tile, the battery is replaceable. If they meet a stretch goal of $100,000, the PebbleBee guys will even be able to make a wireless charger. On the social front, you can allow other trusted contacts to track your PebbleBee tags, or if you lose something far away, can mark an item as lost, and give the PebbleBee community at large to find the item for you.
On the developer side, an API will be available, though there aren’t any examples of it in action just yet. It would be great to see these tying in with smartwatches and other wearables, so you wouldn’t have to take out your phone to see that a tagged object is out of range. In the case of motion tracking, however, one could see how a Hornet might functionally replace more fitness-oriented wearables.
Though I find XY has a bit more style, it’s hard to beat PebbleBee’s feature set. I’ve been getting a lot of use out of the Elgato SmartKey, but PebbleBee is showing that there are many other use cases than just finding your stuff. So far the only other product that really matches PebbleBee in terms of features is Linquet.
Each PebbleBee Honey is going for $18, and the PebbleBee Hornets are $35 a pop. You can get a little bit of both at the $153 backer tier and be rewarded with three Honeys and three Hornets. They’re even tossing in a free colored bumper for hitting the first stretch goal. The PebbleBee has already blown past its $20,000 goal, and currently sits at over $80,000 raised and under 20 days left to go. More info on backer tiers and stretch goals can be found on Kickstarter. Any takers?