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BlackBerry Protect beta finds, wipes lost phones

Despite being late to the party, RIM's latest service is enticing, and another reason for loyalists to stay.

BlackBerry Protect

You no longer have to be a member of the BlackBerry Beta Zone to try out BlackBerry Protect. RIM over the weekend opened up its beta of the service that helps remotely protect your personal information on lost or stolen phones.

The service mimics others (like Microsoft's My Phone and Apple's MobileMe), and includes GPS and cell tower tracking, password locking, extra-loud rings to find the phone, and secure wiping of the phone. There's also wireless backup, a custom message you can display, and the capability to wirelessly restore that backed-up data to a new phone.

To accomplish these tasks, BlackBerry Protect consists of software you download to your BlackBerry smartphone and a Web dashboard that you captain if something goes wrong.

I love these types of smartphone services for the layers of protection and agency they provide for what is otherwise a very vulnerable device. Once again, RIM's entry is late (My Phone debuted in 2009; MobileMe appeared in 2008) but I'm nevertheless glad it came to the party and is offering its loyalists another reason to stay.

BlackBerry Protect is available for free in the U.S., Canada, and select Latin American countries.