Tile may be reaching record sales, but the company has struggled to accept Apple’s “anti-competitive” entry into the world of item tracking. That’s why Tile is now selling its Bluetooth tracking business to Life360, a family location tracking app, in a $205 million deal.
The acquisition marks a turning point for Tile, which may now pivot to the world of “family” or “safety” tracking products. In a blog post, Life360 says that it will combine the Tile and Life360 tracking services into a single app.
It’s an interesting move that should give Tile a leg up on Apple—sort of. Tile and Life360 are unlikely to reach dedicated Apple families, as Apple sells cheap AirTag trackers and offers free family tracking services to its customers.
But Tile and Life360 are platform agnostic. They work with both Android and iOS devices, so their services should appeal to families that own a mix of different phones. If an iPhone user wants to track their kid’s Android phone, for example, they may opt for Life360 simply because they can’t use Apple’s services. (I should point out that you can track family members on Android for free.)
When these Life360 customers decide to buy an item tracker, they’ll probably buy one from Tile, as Tile and Life360 (will eventually) share an app. Life360 also says it will bundle its service with Tile trackers, a move that could accelerate its growth and secure the market share that Apple is ignoring.
It seems that Tile won’t change very quickly, though. Tile will continue to operate as an independent brand and retain its employees. Still, there’s a good chance that Tile will try to integrate its tracking services with more third-party devices, especially products that are family-adjacent, such as cars.