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Tagg Pet Tracker from Verizon

As cell phone service goes digital, it's not just for phones anymore.

We've seen Internet connectivity embedded in "smart" devices in the home -- from surveillance cameras to TVs to refrigerators. Similar, building cellular connections into mobile devices allow them to report in and be checked and updated on the fly.

We've become familiar with this idea, for example, in tracking our packages across the country, from submission to shipping center to the truck out for final delivery.

And now tracking is coming to consumer applications, with products like the Tagg Pet Tracker, available from Verizon Wireless.

The Tagg is a small device that you add to your pet's collar to monitor its activity and warn you if it wanders away.

It's just over an ounce, and is recommended for pets over 10 pounds -- so think of it more for dogs than cats. It's rugged and water-resistant for adventurous animals.

The Tagg then periodically checks in with the online service to track your pet's location. To monitor your pet's health, you can log in to the service to monitor its activity levels from day to day -- to see the intensity and duration of its movements.

Then with a smartphone, you can easily track your dog from minute by minute using the free Tagg app for iPhone and Android. (Or even with regular cell phones with SMS service.)

You can set up a text or email alert if your pup goes outside a designated area, bring up its current location on a map, and track its movements over time.

However, the tracking is not real time. The updates are paced by the rate at which the Tagg device connects over the cellular network to check in, which is typically around 3 minutes, but can be more like 10 minutes.

The Tagg runs on a battery that lasts up to 30 days, and recharges in a docking station (without needing to plug in cables). The unit is 1.49 x 3.18 x 0.77 inches and 1.16 ounces.

As a cellular product, it use GPS for location tracking and requires a mobile data service plan, like a smartphone. You also should check the system coverage maps to verify service in your area.

The Tagg is priced at $99 with 3 months of service. The service then is $7.95 a month.

See my Holiday Gadgets and Wireless Accessories 2013 coverage for more on portable devices.

Find the Tagg Pet Tracker on Amazon.com

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