One major concern for all smartphone users stems from its smart nature. We log into all our accounts and store a lot of personal information on our devices. This is why many users are terrified of losing their device. SIM-lock can only prevent mobile network traffic. Connect to a WiFi network, and all your information can be accessed by anybody. Pattern/Password unlocks are not the most secure thing in the world, and can often be broken. Google has given this some thought, and launched Android Device Manager in August, which lets you locate, lock and wipe your device.
When you sync your device with your Google account, Google automatically registers that device to you email-ID. Opening up the console on Android Device Manager shows a clean deal with a list of registered devices and a map. Google locates your device using GPS, Network IP, and some of their own Voodoo magic to find your device with about 20m of accuracy. This would come in handy say if you lost your phone.
The console gives a “Ring” option which automatically plays a Google decided ringtone at full volume, even if the device i on silent. This is useful for locating the device nearby, and the maps is a handy feature. It also includes an “Erase” option, allowing you to remotely erase your device. To do this, you need to update the Device Administrator settings on your device to allow remote wiping. There are plenty of third-party apps to do this, though users would be more comfortable with Google handling their data.
As part of the Google Play Services 3.2.64 update, it includes functionality for Android Device manager, and some more features. Google Play Services is a great way for Google to push out patches without requiring any user interaction, since Google Play updates in the background. The new update also includes functionality for Remotely Locking the device, and changing the password, and can be activated after giving permissions in the Device Administrator settings panel. The update is still just rolling out to users, and the folks over at Androidpolice pointed this out from a source code teardown. We can expect some of these new features to show up on the ADM website after most users have updated. Google has also hinted that all devices Froyo and up will be supported.
While many third-party applications do have similar effects, there are great advantages to handing this off to Google. The screen lock and password reset are likely to be live soon. We expect to see many more features rolling out with this in the future, possibly even creating remote backups of critical data before wiping, notifying emergency contact when the phone is reported stolen, possibly even live camera streaming of the captors face. After all, Google wrote the operating system, and can possibly do a better job than most competitors.
As things currently stand, Android Device Manager is a very useful way to secure the device, erase critical information, and will certainly help many users sleep easier at night. With the overall trend towards all information bring stored on mobile, and talk of the iPhone fingerprint scanner to be used for transactions, it is inevitable we will hit a security wall at some point. Google is moving in this direction, and we are clearly moving towards a one device for everything type-world. Major thinkers seem to address problems which they expect users will face before they even face them, showing us how much in advance the tech world needs to think and invent to stay on top.
SOURCEAndroid Device Manager