OPPO’s Zero-Power Tag could be next big Apple AirTag competitor


  • OPPO has been working on zero-power communication for a while now
  • The company said the Zero-Power Tag could be available in the form of a sticker
  • OPPO didn’t reveal a launch timeframe for this battery-free smart tracker

Chinese manufacturer OPPO has launched its first-ever prototype smart tracking device using zero-power communication tech, which would compete with the Apple AirTag whenever the company decides to bring it to the market. OPPO has conducted extensive research in the field of zero-power communication, which was detailed in a white paper published over a year ago (link below).

OPPO took the opportunity at the recently held Mobile World Congress 2023 to demonstrate the functionality of this innovative new smart tracker. What makes this stand out from the likes of the AirTag is its ability to operate without a battery. The manufacturer said that this new tracking device, known as the Zero-Power Tag, is also ready for future technologies like 6G.

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While the image you see above depicts a rather large set of trackers, OPPO says the version that will make it to the market could be sold in the form of a sticker. As Gadgets360 notes, this could also enable wildlife researchers to track animal movements, with OPPO giving the example of using this on endangered birds to get a more accurate understanding of their migration patterns.

How does the Zero-Power Tag operate without a battery?

This phenomenon is still in its early stages, though OPPO appears to be the first in line to introduce these smart trackers. Explaining how this tracker works without requiring batteries, OPPO said, “Zero-Power devices can harvest ambient radio signals broadcast from sources such as TV towers, FM radio towers, cellular base stations, and WiFi access points (APs) as their source of power.”

“After harvesting the energy from existing radio waves, the device can modulate ambient radio signals with its own information and transmit these signals outwards in a process known as backscattering communication,” the manufacturer further noted in a press release.

It’s important to understand the significance of a smart tracking device that doesn’t use a traditional power source. Discarded batteries often end up in landfills, wreaking havoc on the environment in the long run. OPPO’s newly developed tech paves the way for companies to eliminate this problem once and for all. However, it would require a unified effort from all smart tracker producers, including Apple, for this to have any noticeable impact.

Source: OPPO, OPPO 2022 White Paper