Android Device Manager, the new online tool that allows users of smartphones running Google’s Android operating system to be tracked and erased in the event that they are lost or stolen, is now available for free to users of Android 2.2 and up.
Google first detailed the tool last week and was one of the last big deficits in user experience for Android users. Until now, smartphones running Android had no way of being tracked by a user’s Google account. Instead, users had to rely on an increasingly complicated line-up of security programs that either offered the feature for free but had a poor user experience, or cost the user money and include lots of other security tools the user might not need.
Not only are users able to find their devices anywhere, but they can also ring the device to help them find it within a certain range like their house. They can also erase their device if they think it might have gotten into wrong hands. Device erasing does require a small amount of setup on the device, but the other features of the Android Device Manger don’t require a set-up process at all.
To activate the option by going to their Android device’s settings application and activating their device’s option for Android Device Manager.
There’s still no word on when the Android Device Manager application that Google promised when it announced the web version of Android Device Manager, will arrive. According to Google, that app will also let users “find and manage” their Android devices as well.
Android Device Manager joins similar features available to users of Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone. Unfortunately BlackBerry 10 users, still don’t have a BlackBerry made tool for locking or erasing their devices in an emergency.
As more and more users put more of their data on smartphones and tablets running these operating systems, device makers will need to keep security at the forefront of their development plans. Theft of smartphones has become so rampant that the New York City Police Department actually has a phone registration program specifically intended to cut down on iPhone thefts.