Digital Crave

Smartphone app, gadget helps find your missing keys

Digital Crave

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How many times have you been at home and realized you're running late for something — going to work, taking the kids to school or any other appointment you need to get to. Of course, it's on these days you can't seem to find your car or house keys.

Sound familiar?

One solution, and something I've been testing for a few weeks, is the Cobra Tag, a small Bluetooth gadget you keep on your keychain. If you can't seem to find your keys, you'll launch a free smartphone app by the same name and it will cause the Cobra Tag device to beep loudly so you can follow the sound.

You'll also see where the Cobra Tag is on your smartphone screen with words like "Close" or "Very Close" — think of it like "hot" and "hotter" in a game of "Hide and Seek."

Other information is given on the app, such as the percentage of battery power left on the Cobra Tag, so you'll know when it's time to charge it up. A USB cable is included, allowing you to connect it to a computer for an hour or so.

The Cobra Tag can also be used in the reverse. Say you can't seem to find your smartphone but have your keys nearby. Press a button on the Cobra Tag device and you'll smartphone will chime loudly.

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While the product worked as promised, there are a few things worth noting. For one, the app only works with Android and BlackBerry smartphones at this point. Why would they leave out iPhone, the no. 1 smartphone in the world? I asked Cobra Electronics this question and they replied with "The Cobra Tag for iPhone will be available in Q2 of 2012." Sigh.

Secondly, the product is Bluetooth-based, therefore it'll work within 30 feet (about 10 meters), but if you left your keys, say, on the seat of your car, it might be too far away to work.

Lastly, while the Cobra Tag is a great idea — and it works -- $80 is too steep for what this product does. That said, you can find it as low as $60.

Despite these shortcomings, the Cobra Tag could be a handy high-tech companion for forgetful types — just not for iPhone users.

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