Giant phone manufacturers Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsung have come together – along with U.S. carriers – to take one step closer to protecting stolen smartphones, and maybe even deter thieves from stealing the devices in the first place.
Several states and municipalities in the U.S. have been mulling over the possibility of requiring a kill-switch for mobile phones, so that the owner can remotely render the device useless in case of theft. Alongside these talks, the major players have come together and agreed that by mid next year, the smartphones that roll out of their factories will all have the new anti-theft technology.
Currently, many phones (including the iPhone) already have some anti-theft security measures in place, like the owner being able to locate and/or wipe the stolen device remotely. With this new collaboration, however, users will also have the choice to brick their phones so that the thief will have no way of using the device they just have painstakingly (or not) stolen. Of course, there will be a way to unbrick or reactivate the phone IF it is retrieved by the owner.
California state Senator Mark Leno gives the industry’s initiative a thumbs up, although he is still unsatisfied:
“The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft. Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.” (Source)
While he does have a point, I don’t think it’s Microsoft’s (et al.) responsibility to “combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets”, do you?
[Image via 9to5mac]