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Trakdot: Already a Strong Contender for 2013 Travel Product of the Year

January 7, 2013 at 11:59 AM | by | ()

The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show begins this week and so, as happens every year, the weekend saw a bevy of new items fighting for space on the tech blogs. One that broke through is a new product called Trakdot, which promises to give travelers realtime tracking of lost luggage via a $50 tracking device plus $12.99 per year.

Given some of the travel hell we've gone through with lost luggage that airlines couldn't quite find in quite a bit of time, you'll understand why we were instantly intrigued. And given how 26 million bags per year get lost every year according to the Trakdot press release, we're assuming that at least some of you guys are going to be intrigued as well.

The plan seems simple enough. The Trakdot $50 device is an actual cell phone registered to an actual cell phone carrier run by Trakdot itself. The devices are the only "cell phones" that can hop aboard, but in every other sense Trakdot it's a normal mobile carrier.

The device checks into the carrier like any cell phone would. The carrier figures out where the device is. The device then phones home (actually texts home) with its location. It runs on double-A batteries and can go about three weeks after you turn it on. The whole arrangement certainly sounds like the kind of thing that would work, no?

Before you ask—because it was also our question—the device knows how to turn itself off and on during takeoff and landing. It has an accelerometer that senses speed.

So some care has evidently gone into this product, and we're also heartened by the fact that the Trakdot people seem like they understand how travel actually works. They're not one of those companies that sell just-clever-enough-to-be-dangerous products to inexperienced travelers by spinning impossible scenarios. They start off by emphasizing that of course airlines eventually find lost luggage and that Trakdot isn't designed to help you recover your baggage.

What subscribers purchase is peace of mind: the knowledge that your luggage still exists somewhere out there.

[Photo: Max Borges Agency]

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