Attention, users of the Finder tracking device made by Bellevue, Wash.-based Pebblebee: If you’ve ever complained about a dead battery on that gadget designed to help you locate missing keys and more, they’ve been tracking your feedback. And a new Finder could solve the problem.
After several months of development, Pebblebee founders Daniel Daoura and Nick Pearson-Franks are announcing the release of Finder 2.0 — with a rechargeable battery.
“People sometimes would not replace the battery because it’s inconvenient and they just leave the [tracker] on their keys and it’s just a Finder keychain,” Daoura said. “There’s a group of people that love to be able to change the battery and replace it. And there’s a group of people that don’t want to do it.”
That second group accounted for 90 to 95 percent of the small startup’s customer support issues over the past couple years, peppering Pebblebee with such questions as, “Why did it stop working?” and “How do I change the battery?” and “Where do I get a new battery?”
“We were the first to have a replaceable battery and then Tile started doing it,” Daoura said of his large tracking-device competitor. “We wanted to be more sustainable. We want it to allow the customer to not have to replace the battery. You really only have to charge it once or twice a year and it takes less than 45 minutes to charge.”
As for whether Tile would end up with its own rechargeable battery product, Daoura said it’s likely to happen. “If history tells us anything they’ll end up following our footsteps.. Who knows? We’ll see,” he said.
Finder 2.0 started shipping last week to Costco stores across the U.S., continuing the partnership Pebblebee first announced with the big-box retailer last October. A two-pack priced at $29.99 will feature one Finder 2.0 (with a USBC charger) as well as one BlackCard, the credit-card-thin device for helping to locate a missing wallet or something else. Each device sells for $34.99 alone on Pebblebee’s website.
Finder 2.0 doesn’t just boast the new battery. Daoura said the device is also three times louder and is equipped with a volume setting. Users can also change the tone the tracker emits. The distance it will track something has been improved to 500 feet, from around 200 with the original Finder. The metal loop for attaching to a key ring has been expanded, to allow Finder 2.0 to be clipped to something such as a carabiner.
And finally, it’s also water resistant, so you can put it on your kid or pet in the rain, Daoura said, and “it becomes more appealing for the REI consumers of the world.”