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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kill Switch Technology Coming To Android



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Let's say your phone is stolen and you're able to track it down to the home of a criminal. The police are unwilling to help. What would you do?

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I would take the law into my own hands and confront the thief to get my phone back.

No phone is worth possibly putting myself in harm's way. I'd give up on the phone.

I'm not sure.

By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


With smartphone theft the No. 1 crime in many metro areas, Apple has defied wireless operators and mobile manufacturers to do the right thing for consumers.

Apple's iOS 7 offers kill switch-like technology that thwarts smartphone thieves

Along with the introduction of iOS 7, Apple rolled out a software update that is essentially a kill switch. You can also track the phone and, in some cases, take a picture of the criminal to show police.

If your device is stolen, the software kill switch will allow you to make the device useless by deactivating it via an Apple website.

Years ago, the Australian government forced wireless providers to install a kill switch registry and cell phone theft collapsed Down Under.

Shame on our 4 Bigs -- AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon -- for not caring about this crime. And Samsung? Get with the program! Apple is doing this. What about you?

The sad reality is the economics of smartphone theft work in the favor of the incumbent players when people have to buy new phones to replace their stolen ones.

Fortunately, both Google and Microsoft are now following Apple's lead. Both Google for its vast Android audience and Microsoft for its tiny Windows phone audience will ready similar kill switch like capabilities in coming software iterations.

By the way, I currently use a free app called Lookout that is one of those find my phone apps. Others you can check out include:

  • PreyProject.com -- Freemium service for Macs, PCs and smartphones.
  • Find My iPhone -- Free service for many Apple devices.
  • Where's My Droid -- Free service for Android smart phone users.
  • Plan B -- Free service for Android smart phone users. This is the only one that can be remotely installed on your phone after you've lost it.