Huawei might be working on a smart tag device, patent shows

Huawei might be working on a smart tag device, new patent shows
Smart tracking devices are becoming more and more popular nowadays, with big manufacturers venturing into the realm of the tiny. Samsung launched its Galaxy SmartTag earlier this year, and Apple didn’t lag behind with the AirTags.

And now it seems that Huawei might be joining the bunch with its own iteration of the smart device idea, called the Huawei S-Tag. This information is coming from a patent application, unearthed by our good friends at LetsGoDigital.

The patent in question was filed on October 28, 2021, with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the name on the documents was the aforementioned "Huawei S-Tag", with the “S” probably standing for “smart”.

It’s a Class 9/10/14 application, which means: “Smartwatches; smart glasses; smart rings; computer programs, downloadable computer software programs; wearable activity trackers; data processing apparatus; pedometer; smartphones; measuring apparatus; apparatus for use in medical analysis.”

What’s a bit surprising is that the “electronic tag” category is missing from the patent description. There’s a small possibility that Huawei is working on a new wearable device, equipped with the S-Tag functionality, like a smart ring, bracelet, etc.

What is a smart tag device?

Smart tags are basically tracking devices that can be attached to anything you value and can be easily lost. These normally use Bluetooth for close range, and when you can't find your keys, wallet, or whatever is attached to the smart tag it will send a signal to your phone, giving you the location.

If the tag is outside of the Bluetooth range, companies use clever tricks such as connecting all their brand devices (say smartphones) in a large network, able to search for your lost tag device. The idea is pretty simple, and also very effective but it comes with its own drawbacks.

People can use smart trackers to spy on their spouses, kids, strangers, etc. That’s why the companies manufacturing the smart tag devices often provide anti-stalker measures. Apple AirTags, for example, will start playing a sound at a random time in a window after eight hours and within 24 hours.

Huawei S-Tag - our take

There are some caveats with this patent filing. As with all patent applications, there’s no guarantee that this document will give birth to a real-world device. Thousands and thousands of patents are being filed each year, and in the end, we see just a handful of devices reaching the market shelves.

At this point, there’s no information about the device or how exactly it would work. Huawei should add a solid software backup to this idea, in order for it to be functional.

This involves some kind of a Huawei Find My network, where different devices would be able to connect and search for the lost S-Tag. And actually, there is such a thing, called Find My Phone but it’s not clear it would be able to accommodate the S-Tag without a sufficient update.

And this might prove harder than it sounds, as Huawei has been accused of industrial espionage (and banned from the US), so setting up a network between end users’ devices and asking them to share their location might prove difficult.

Smart trackers rely on this network functionality heavily, and this is another problem in its own right. With Huawei’s market share shrinking, there won’t be enough devices online to pinpoint an accurate location and make use of an S-Tag device.

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