August 5, 2013
Android To Release App To Help Find, Protect Lost Smartphones
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Due out later this month, the new Android Device Manager will allow users to have their smartphones ring at maximum volume to make it easier to find if it is misplaced, Android Product Manager Benjamin Poiesz said. In addition, in cases where the device isn't within earshot, it can be located in real time using a map.
"While losing your phone can be stressful, Android Device Manager can help you keep your data from ending up in the wrong hands. If your phone can't be recovered, or has been stolen, you can quickly and securely erase all of the data on your device," Poiesz added.
Android Device Manager will be released on the Web for devices running Android 2.2 or higher, explained PCMag's Stephanie Mlot. Users will have to be logged into their Google account to access it, and an Android app to help owners find and/or track their devices is also in the works, according to Poiesz. No target release window was announced for the mobile software, however.
"In releasing ADM, Google is a latecomer to the phone location and remote interaction game," notes Kevin Bostic of Apple Insider. "Both Apple and Microsoft have had a 'find my phone' feature built into their mobile platforms since 2010."
"Apple has spent the three years since introducing Find My iPhone steadily improving the feature," he added. In December, the Cupertino, California-based company "added driving directions to the app," while the beta version of iOS 7 features "both a password disabling feature that locks a device out of a user's iTunes account and an activation lock feature that shuts a phone down entirely," according to Bostic.
On Android devices, third-party companies like Lookout and McAfee stepped up to try to fill the void in the software's toolkit, said TechHive writer Brad Chacos. While he calls Android Device Manager "a welcome addition" to the operating system's core set of features, he also cautions it will not make those security apps obsolete, especially in light of the increasing prevalence of "app-skirting phishing attacks and shady ad networks."
Google has released a handful of tips designed to help Android users keep their devices safe and secure while they're waiting for Device Manager to be released. They suggest setting up a screen lock in case the handset is left misplaced, noting Android devices can be locked by going to 'Settings > Personal > Security > Screen Lock' on the unit in question. In addition, they advise users to allow Google to scan apps downloaded from the Web or third-parties to make sure that they aren't potentially harmful.