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Google and Microsoft to add smartphone kill switch

  • Google (GOOG, GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) are adding a "kill switch" to their next smartphone operating systems, following Apple's (AAPL) release of the feature last September.
  • Apple's kill switch function prompts users to enter their Apple ID and password before erasing data, turning off "Find my iPhone", or reactivating the device.
  • Since the feature has been added, iPhone thefts have plummeted. New York displayed a 19% decrease in robberies for the first five months of 2014, compared to the same period last year. San Francisco robberies have dropped 38%.
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Comments (25)
  • aussher
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Another brilliant but simple idea "borrowed" from AAPL - what would MSFT, GOOG, Samsung etc do without them.
    20 Jun, 04:42 AM Reply Like
  • wil3714
    , contributor
    Comments (1957) | Send Message
     
    nice try guy this is pushed by legislation
    20 Jun, 06:28 AM Reply Like
  • Seppo Sahrakorpi
    , contributor
    Comments (1972) | Send Message
     
    ???

     

    My WP has had a kill switch for ages already, way way before last September. I can already remotely locate the phone, lock it or wipe it clean, built directly into the OS.

     

    The only difference is that these functions are not explicitly PIN protected at the moment, as this change would suggest. But that is not an issue since my phone's lock screen is already PIN protected...too many log in attempts and it will automatically wipe itself clean.

     

    So, again an example of some tech not being necessary or desirable or a big thing until Apple "introduces" or perhaps even "invents" it...
    20 Jun, 07:36 AM Reply Like
  • cell tech support
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    Lol. Have currently 3 WP 8. 8 of them on 1 account. Have always been able to lock and wipe remotely and pinpoint the kids within a 4 foot accuracy of real-time location. Sorry. But WP 8 is way beyond old school technology. Novelty and toys are just cool. But when the children actually want to grow up and stop being "cool" and get down to serious business...nothing compares.
    20 Jun, 08:34 AM Reply Like
  • User 8817491
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    And even BlackBerry has had it for years, with the ability to make an audible sound, display a message on the screen, location and wipe function. This is so old news, but Apple is the innovator, jokes. The joke is actually on iPhone users that keep getting taken from behind (insert image of hand in customers back pocket here) every "innovative" step of the way.
    20 Jun, 08:35 AM Reply Like
  • robb305
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Exactly, too many wrong attempts and it wipes itself clean. Then I can sell it.

     

    With Apple, even if the phone is wiped, you will still need to enter a password. Slight difference, and slightly more useful.
    20 Jun, 09:20 AM Reply Like
  • Rickly
    , contributor
    Comments (61) | Send Message
     
    Yeah right after Apple stole from Nokia get your facts straight.Nokia receives 8-10 dollars off every Apple device sold small consolation since they made billions off of Nokia but tide is turning now watch and learn
    20 Jun, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • techy46
    , contributor
    Comments (6288) | Send Message
     
    Maybe Apple could add Microsoft's DO NOT TRACK in Sufari next?
    20 Jun, 04:09 PM Reply Like
  • wil3714
    , contributor
    Comments (1957) | Send Message
     
    Again another marketing gimmick by Apple, its more of a marketing company and retail company than a tech company.

     

    A7 chip thats an ARM chip, "rebranded" LOL as an Apple chip

     

    Siri thats Nuanace technologies, Apple the rebranding king
    20 Jun, 08:53 PM Reply Like
  • KevinRemde
    , contributor
    Comments (387) | Send Message
     
    "Maybe Apple could add Microsoft's DO NOT TRACK in Sufari next?"

     

    And they'll claim it's new and magical and entirely their idea.
    21 Jun, 09:14 AM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1370) | Send Message
     
    iOS has been able to lock phones remotely for years too, but you could just reformat the phone or iPad which is what I suspect Windows Phone and blackberry currently offer. Activation lock goes beyond that. When you try to reinstall the OS, it checks to see if the device is currently registered and won't let you reinstall. The phone isn't just locked, it's fully bricked and can only be used for parts.

     

    I don't believe either winpho or blackberry do this.
    21 Jun, 11:30 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1370) | Send Message
     
    I find it amusing that Windows Phone and Blackberry users are piling in here claiming Apple copied their platform when the features were built into iOS before Windows Phone or Blackberry 10 was released.

     

    If you want to toss around these kind of accusations, at least know what the feature is you are talking about.

     

    Apple has had "do not track" on the iPhone since... I think the first one. At least since iOS 4. They also have had third party cookie blocking and apps can't access MAC addresses or other unique IDs so thrid party advertisers can build a profile of your phone for advertising.
    21 Jun, 11:33 PM Reply Like
  • aussher
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Oh well, maybe it just takes AAPL to make a normal idea "cool", a good position to be in and long may it last.
    20 Jun, 08:06 AM Reply Like
  • Seppo Sahrakorpi
    , contributor
    Comments (1972) | Send Message
     
    Agreed, that is a good position to be in.

     

    But how long will it last? For Nokia who absolutely dominated first wave of mobile phones it lasted 10 years, max 15 depending on what your metric is...

     

    The invention / product cycles are faster now, and is Apple able to reinvent / create the next brand new product concept to ride the next wave? Very few companies have been able to do that, Nokia for sure did not ...
    20 Jun, 08:11 AM Reply Like
  • cell tech support
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    IPhone clones and Android drones. Lol. Such an original group of sheoples. Lol.
    20 Jun, 09:05 AM Reply Like
  • rsbduff@gmail.com
    , contributor
    Comments (438) | Send Message
     
    Not enough!

     

    "I want them to add a kill switch for the loudmouth next to me at the coffee shop!"

     

    You should know that the dirty little secret was......Apple made $100 million a year replacing all those stolen phones.....that's why it took the threat of legislation.... to get them to act.

     

    RSBDuff
    20 Jun, 08:15 AM Reply Like
  • dpaauw
    , contributor
    Comments (62) | Send Message
     
    I remember reading years ago, maybe a decade, that Japanese
    theaters were allowed to install cell phone jammers. In the U.S.
    that would result in lawsuits over those oh-so-important missed
    calls.
    20 Jun, 09:41 PM Reply Like
  • KevinRemde
    , contributor
    Comments (387) | Send Message
     
    I wonder if the reduction in theft wasn't more likely due to more people every year already having cheaper and more capable smartphones of their own. I can't see how they'd be able to attribute it just to this feature.

     

    And, yes, Microsoft's Windows Phone and even the Windows Mobile OS before it had the ability to wipe the phone remotely, and to wipe it if too many attempts to enter an incorrect PIN are attempted. Why is this suddenly something "new"?
    20 Jun, 08:26 AM Reply Like
  • robb305
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Its "new" because even if you wipe an iPhone now, you will still need a password to unlock it. The phone is essentially a brick unless that password is entered. This basically kills the secondary market for stolen phones if they aren't usable after a wipe. Now, if you lose your state-of-the-art windows phone and I find it on the floor then wipe it, I can sell it as if it was my old phone.
    20 Jun, 09:20 AM Reply Like
  • KevinRemde
    , contributor
    Comments (387) | Send Message
     
    Thanks for clarifying. I wasn't aware of that part. Agreed, that's a nice addition.
    21 Jun, 09:15 AM Reply Like
  • cell tech support
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    I work tech support for cell industry and am totally amazed at folks that faithfully worship faithfully to be with the in crowd. They have never even got out of highschool mentality. Androids are a childs toy and iPhone are a trend that comes from little girls pretending to be special. They only want the cool stuff and they don't even care if it a joke device that really has no reliability.
    20 Jun, 09:10 AM Reply Like
  • dpaauw
    , contributor
    Comments (62) | Send Message
     
    Non SA related.
    Maybe you can help me. I have an ancient Nokia/ATT flip-phone
    with buttons, maybe a camera, I've never read the manual. I
    just know I need to hold the "off" button to turn it on??? I've
    kept it because it's the smallest, lightest phone I've ever found
    and when I'm out on my property (20 acres) in shorts, no shirt,
    I can just tuck it in a sock. I don't know my phone number so
    it's written on the back of the phone. I only use it to call out.
    If anyone wants to reach me, they call the house phone and
    leave a message. I only carry this phone in case I get into
    trouble or am out of town.

     

    But I lust after the functions that my friends and relatives have
    on their smart phones. I'm a well-rounded engineer and can
    design any gizmo you want but I'm a Luddite when it comes
    to following what gizmos exist, especially trendy ones.
    So, in your opinion, which phone would you recommend or
    should I wait for the next best thing? I have no interest in
    social apps but things like speaking map guides (especially
    nautical) and weather (probably common) would interest
    me.
    I welcome your response or anyone else's. This probably isn't
    in the spirit of SA but I've seen worse.

     

    OK, to make it relevant, no one has ever shown the slightest
    interest in stealing my phone. In fact, it's been returned to
    me by bystanders in airports when I left it. The only data on
    it is my phone book but I can imagine a lot of stuff being stored
    on a smart phone. One thing I would suggest that Apple could
    implement would be a service that would store all data on a
    phone before it was erased so it could be recovered. At a
    cost, of course. The hooks to do this may not exist right
    now but they could easily do it.
    20 Jun, 10:30 PM Reply Like
  • bjnflicks
    , contributor
    Comments (2532) | Send Message
     
    These companies are forgetting something, thieves do not want to steal anything but an iPhone. iPhones are the only profitable phones to steal. Used Androids or Nokias are hardly worth stealing.
    20 Jun, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • BlueOkie
    , contributor
    Comments (5596) | Send Message
     
    Put your I-Phone away, it wont' get stolen that way
    20 Jun, 02:27 PM Reply Like
  • techy46
    , contributor
    Comments (6288) | Send Message
     
    Once the price of all these toys drops to $99 nobody will care anymore.
    20 Jun, 04:11 PM Reply Like
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