Google to release Apple-like 'Find My Phone' app at long last
One of the last pivotal shortcomings of the Android OS ecosystem finally sees a solution for devices running Android 2.2 and up.
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Nick Statt was a staff reporter for CNET News covering Microsoft, gaming, and technology you sometimes wear. He previously wrote for ReadWrite, was a news associate at the social-news app Flipboard, and his work has appeared in Popular Science and Newsweek. When not complaining about Bay Area bagel quality, he can be found spending a questionable amount of time contemplating his relationship with video games.
One of the few OS perks iPhone owners have still held over the heads of their Android compatriots is Apple's official -- and free -- app for locating and remote wiping a lost device.
After years of user complaints and shoddy third-party variants, Google has finally answered iOS's "Find My iPhone" feature with a locator of its own: the Android Device Manager.
To be released later this month, the app will let Android users find and ring a misplaced or stolen device on a map in real time, as well as wipe its contents remotely. The feature will be available for users running Android 2.2 or later.
Google's solution to the increasing problem of device theft comes at a time when smartphone manufacturers have seen mounting pressure from authorities to add software-side features that could help curb what has been called a violent crime epidemic. Some initiatives, discussed at a meeting between lawmakers and tech giants like Apple and Samsung in June, have included the potential for a "kill switch," which would permanently brick a stolen device and make it worthless for resale.