It has been a long time, but at last Android users will be able to locate their misplaced or stolen phones. Google has announced its plan of introducing Android Device Manager, a phone-finder service a few days ago. Some particular devices have already got the service this weekend through a Google Play update. The device manager system will include an Android app and a website. The system will allow users to find their Android device by playing the ringtone at the maximum level, even when the phone is on silent mode. The actual location of the handset will also be pinpointed on a map, which will be a great help if the phone is lost or stolen.
What The Service Will Do
According to an Android Police report, some Reddit Android users have already got the service in their smartphones. They claim that the new option is listed under the device management settings. The Google Play update is yet to reach to all Android devices, while the Device Manager app and the web interface of the system is not unveiled. However, the available screenshots suggest that the users can remotely change the screen lock code and lock their device, along with sweeping all data by using the Device Manager Service. This is notable as the remote locking function was not mentioned in Google’s announcement post. The post stated that the users will be able to erase all the data in a quick and secure manner if their handsets are stolen.
Once the data is erased, there is no way of reversing the process. Therefore, the data erasing procedure should be done with great caution. The remote locking option seems more practical and viable than remote wiping. The details of the procedure or the security level of the system is not revealed yet. The new service will work as Microsoft’s Find my phone and Apple’s Find my iPhone do. Third party software and services fill up the existing void for Android OS. As these apps did not support all devices and all versions of Android, Google wanted to develop a service of its own.
Other Similar Services
Sony’s my Xperia allows the users to remotely turn on their smartphone’s ringers, lock the device or wipe it if it’s stolen. My Xperia is available as a beta service since last January. However, Sony plans to provide the service with the devices being released by the end of the year. Some wireless carriers including Verizon Wireless are already providing similar services to their subscribers. Benjamin Poiesz, Product Manager of Android has informed that devices running Android 2.2 Froyo and above will be able to run the service. Users will also have to be logged in into their Google accounts in order to use the service. The Android app will allow the users to find and manage their devices.
Unlike the existing similar services, Google’s solution provides the exact location of the device on a map. Nevertheless, Apple lets its users completely lock their devices, ensuring the possible thieves could not access the data stored in those devices. As smartphone theft is increasing rapidly, these services will be an integral part of future smartphones. A recent consumer reports survey has revealed that more than 1.6 million people had lost their smartphones in USA in the last year. Therefore, services like Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager will bring a great enhancement to their respective platforms.