We’ve seen carriers and even some other manufacturers offer different kind of “security” services, usually for finding your lost phone, but some also for malware, although those are not necessary, especially for users who will never download anything outside the Play Store, and the ones who will do that will be able to install their own “anti-virus” anyway. But Sony is only launching a service for finding your lost phone here, called “My Xperia”, along with a few other features:
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- Locate your smartphone on a map
- Sound an alert to get someone’s attention – it’ll also override silent mode and wake the display
- Lock the phone to keep info private, and ping a message with contact details or…
- Erase both internal and external SD card info / data if required
There are good alternatives to this already, like Cerberus (paid), or AndroidLost (free), but I do think this is one of the core services that Google themselves need to be providing. Many of these services already use Google Maps to locate the devices, and you can imagine Google could make the location the device even more accurate if they put their minds to it. Google has a lot of location data, and location history, and they can extrapolate from that to show a more accurate location to the user.
Google doing this is not that far-fetched considering Apple has been offering this kind of service for their devices for at least 2 years now. Apple realized that phones being stolen, especially high-end phones, can be a big issue, and they should be part of solving that problem for their customers. Plus, both Apple and Google can get access to these devices through the Gmail account tied into the device, and they can wipe the device if the user requests it, making sure whoever got the phone at least won’t take advantage of that data.
So I think it’s great that Sony is adding this valuable feature for their users, when Google isn’t, but in the end it should really be Google offering this, just like it should be Google offering cloud storage for Android devices, instead of letting each manufacturer offer their own cloud storage solution. Hopefully we’ll see more integration like this at Google I/O in Android 5.0.