According to published reports, Korean OEM Samsung might be ready to launch a kill switch feature as soon as next month. This is exactly what law enforcement officials want, a way to disable stolen smartphones remotely so that thieves would have no incentive to steal them. Remember that HTC EVO 4G that turned into a brick after you tried to update it? Now you get the picture, except that this kill switch would be activated on purpose.
Apple just introduced a new feature on iOS 7 called "Activation Lock" which locks down the phone if a third person tries to disable Find My iPhone or attempts to wipe the device. The Apple iPhone's owner would have a username and password that could bring the unit back to life.
Law enforcement officials tend to favor the concept of bricking a stolen model, taking the profit out of the equation for a thief who no longer would find a number of potential buyers for a stolen model. The industry has started compiling a list of IMEI numbers taken from stolen models in the hopes that carriers would not activate handsets whose unique number appeared on it, but bricking a stolen phone seems a more immediate and accurate way to deter smartphone theft.