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At last, there’s a way to turn your useless dog into a smartphone

We’ve got smart phones, smart watches, and smart houses. Plus, in the future there will be smart cities and smart cars. Smart pets are missing from that list, but that’s about to be rectified by French manufacturer Haier, thanks to a prototype device it calls the GPS Pet Tracker. It’s going to add some much needed connectivity to your currently dumb dog.

From a distance, there’s every chance it’ll look like you’re in the middle of a deep conversation with a dog.

The GPS Pet Tracker looks like a fatter, slightly oversized name tag, and it’s attached to a collar in the same way. The idea is basically the same too. If Spot gets lost after rushing after a cat, then anyone who finds him can immediately contact the owner. How? It has a SIM card slot, and effectively turns your dog into a phone.

By pressing the red button on the side, the tag will dial one of three pre-determined emergency numbers, so they can speak directly to the owner. After all, Spot knows he’s lost, but isn’t very good at asking for directions. Luckily, you don’t have to lift the dog up to your face, like you would a regular smartphone, but from a distance, there’s every chance it’ll look like you’re in the middle of a deep conversation with a dog.

Haier smart dog collar

The Pet Tracker also, um, tracks. The GPS system knows where the dog is, and can send its location to your phone. The call feature is really just a back up, in case the GPS fails or can’t pinpoint the dog, as is often the case in cities, or if the dog is stuck inside somewhere. It’s possible to set up a perimeter and get an alert if the dog leaves the area. The tracker is based on the same principle as the smartwatch-style trackers made for children.

Because the tag has a SIM card inside, it does mean you’ll have to start paying for your dog to have a phone, but it may be worth it if the worst happens. Haier wants to have the tracker on sale before the end of the year, and it’ll be available with several different styles of leather collars. It’s only dog-sized at the moment, but smaller versions for cats could also be produced.

The price is likely to be around $100 to $150. It’s not cheap, but one day, in an emergency, it may come in handy that your dog doubles as a phone.