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Sprint smartphone users get remote wipe

Sprint customers with a BlackBerry or Android device now can remotely wipe their phones if they sign up for the carrier's Total Equipment Protection plan.

Losing a cell phone is never an ideal scenario, but Sprint is now offering smartphone customers an additional protective measure if their handsets go astray. Starting today, Android and BlackBerry users who sign up for the carrier's Total Equipment Protection plan not only can get a new phone, but also they'll be able to wipe their missing handsets.

The service, which will be included in the plan's $7-per-month charge, offers a number of features. Subscribers can back up and erase contacts on the lost device, remotely lock a smartphone, and track a device via GPS while seeing its location in real time on a map via a Web interface. And if you think your phone might be nearby, you can start an alarm that will sound continuously even if the handset is in silent mode.

To use the remote wipe feature, you'll need to download the latest Total Equipment Protection application. And as additional precautions, it's advisable to back up your contacts frequently and secure your phone with a password.