Say what you will about carrier bloatware, there are occasions when it can be helpful. AT&T and Lookout have just announced that they have partnered up to pre-load Lookout on all new AT&T Android devices. The Lookout Mobile Security app is available on the Google Play Store for anyone to download, but AT&T won't have to take that extra step anymore.
Google has stated numerous times that Android anti-virus and anti-malware apps are not necessary. AT&T doesn't seem to want to take any chances, though. Lookout is one of the most popular security apps available, with almost half a million downloads. The pre-loaded Lookout Security app will come with basic protection for free. An upgrade to premium will cost $2.99 per month and will be billed directly to your AT&T account. The pre-installed app on AT&T devices is the exact same app that is available in the Play Store.
Lookout provides over-the-air protection against malware, viruses, spyware and adware. The app also has a find-my-phone feature that is similar to Google's Android Device Manager. It will let you locate your phone if it's lost or stolen. It even sounds an alarm on the device and will send you an email, complete with a picture and the device's location, if someone enters an incorrect password three times in a row.
For most users the free version is perfectly adequate, but if you want to upgrade to the premium service you also get safe browsing, backup and restore for images and call history, and the ability to remotely lock and wipe your device if you need to. Some of these features are already available with the Android Device Manager, so you have to decide if it's worth paying extra for them.
The Lookout app provides some decent features, but there will be some users that will not be happy about yet another app coming pre-loaded on their Android smartphone. All things considered, there are worse pieces of bloatware that could be loaded on your device out of the box. AT&T is one of the worst culprits when it comes to pre-installed carrier apps, but at least Lookout may be useful.