Ok, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for smart, little accessories and the HTC Fetch, announced back in August by HTC, fits perfectly into this category. It's a small black plastic Bluetooth dongle which only measures 29.35 x 29.35 x 9.3 mm and comes with a keychain. If paired via Bluetooth, it activates the phone's ringtone if 15 meters away from each other. And if both are lost, a convenient map location feature informs where the Fetch and phone were seen last together. Thanks to Bluetooth 4.0 LE, the coin cell battery is said to be good enough for a working time of up to 6 month and Bluetooth 4.0 LE is also not heavily draining the HTC One, One mini and One max, with which the Fetch is compatible. However, Fetch is also compatible with certain HTC Windows Phones.
To activate the Fetch, it needs to be paired with any supported HTC smartphone, like the HTC One family. After that, both devices look for each other and will notify you if they are out of range of each other. While there's no dedicated app, On Android, HTC has integrated the settings into the Bluetooth menu of its HTC Sense software. An icon in the notification bar confirms that the Fetch and One are connected to each other.
The Bluetooth menu shows the battery level and the signal strength of the Bluetooth connectivity. Furthermore it allows to enable/disable sending an E-Mail to the device's standard E-Mail address, if both are unexpectedly disconnected from each other as well as turning on/off the Bluetooth proximity feature.
In the Bluetooth menu, you can tap "Find HTC Fetch" to let the Fetch ring. Pressing the button on the front side of the Fetch lets the phone ring.
However, there's one more useful feature. The HTC Fetch can be used as a remote shutter button when in the HTC Sense camera app. This is useful, for instance, for group photos.
The HTC Fetch uses a standard CR2032 coin battery. The battery will last approximately six months when HTC Fetch is on stand-by. When the battery needs to be replaced, the Fetch will give a notification on the phone.
The HTC Fetch isn't anything special, it's just a small dongle which connects and communicates via Bluetooth with a supported HTC smartphone. Nevertheless it's quite useful. First of all it shows the usefulness of Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy, marketed by the Bluetooth SIG as Bluetooth Smart). Second it helps you to secure your belongings because it doesn't necessarily need to be used as a key ring but could also be used to secure bags, etc. Last but not least, the remote shutter button is very useful, for instance if the connected smartphone is used with the Joby GripTight Mount and tripod.
If used to secure the belongings and the smartphone, there's nevertheless one major pitfall. Both devices have to stay within 15 meters of each other, otherwise both will ring. This means, if used for instance in the office, you better not leave the room without the keychain or the smartphone. If you plan to do so, you have to first turn off Bluetooth or the notification; otherwise you will drive your colleagues crazy.
The HTC Fetch is now available from the HTC Accessory Store and costs around 45 Euro which is a lot cheaper than a lost phone or stolen keys.
Cheers ~ Arne