Android and Windows Phone handsets will both soon feature a "kill switch"

Android and Windows Phone handsets will both soon feature a
Google announced on Thursday that it will be adding a "kill switch" with the next major build of the Android OS. The "factory reset protection solution" is designed to eliminate the incentive for a thief to steal a smartphone. If the handset cannot be turned on, it will have no resale value and therefore, it would not be an enticing target for a thief.

Microsoft also announced today, its plan to build a "kill switch" into Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft’s Vice President for U.S. Government Affairs, Fred Humphries, said that the company would add theft-deterrence capabilities to its Windows Phone 8.1 powered models, through a software update. This update would also be sent out to Lumia models made by Nokia prior to Microsoft's acquisition of the firm's Devices and Services division.

When Apple added its Activation Lock to the Find My iPhone application last year, it turned the latter into a kill switch. The results were seen immediately. According to the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, in the first five months of 2014, robberies involving the Apple iPhone dropped 19%. In San Francisco, 38% fewer iPhones were grabbed during the same time period. In London, 24% fewer Apple iPhones were stolen in the first five months of the year

You can't argue with the statistics, which is probably why Google and Microsoft both decided to join Apple in making smartphones less desirable for criminals to steal.

source: Bloomberg

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16 Comments

1. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Please since smartphone theft is still a big issue. People "find" phones and sell them on Facebook and Craigslist for quick money.

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

30 seconds on Facebook and this is what I find. Relax PA, it isn't spam. http://tinypic.com/r/63um90/8

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Long overdue. A kill switch is not rocket science. Even Apple can release the function in iOS. It isn't hard to do. The manufacturers just weren't motivated to include a kill switch, 'cause they made more sales of phones as replacements for stolen phones.

10. Aploine

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

Goverment didn't ask ME. Nor will bring my phone back. And even with it, I have to PROVE to insurance that the phone has been stolen. ROOT

3. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

Soon means next couple of months i read multiple articles saying by mid 2015

4. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

A quarter after Activation Lock was introduced by Apple, iPhone theft dropped 40% in London, as well as being reduced in other cities. Id love for this to happen with Android. If I cant have MY Nexus 5, NOBODY CAN >:D !

5. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

This could come in handy. Please add self destruct too! Lol!

7. FingerMyApple unregistered

nice catch up lol :)

8. CoastCity

Posts: 257; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

Goverment didn't ask me. ROOT

9. Dee79

Posts: 307; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Thiefs will steal the phone and sell the expensive screens on ebay, job done

11. LAFN

Posts: 61; Member since: Jul 19, 2009

Or hold a gun to your head and force you to unlock it before they steal it.

12. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Surprise, an article about Microsoft and google that alan found a way to turn into pro-apple. Yeesh. Windows Phones have sort of had a kill switch from day one: All the user has to do is go to windowsphone.com, login, and they can find, lock, and erase the phone remotely. Granted not the full on "kill switch" coming soon, but pretty good nonetheless.

13. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

"Can't argue with the statistics"? Of course one can! I'd agree that the ability to remote brick the phone (assuming it's yours to brick) is a deterrent to theft, but I have to wonder aloud how much of the year-over-year theft reduction is due to other known factors, including increased popularity of alternative platforms, increased vigilance by the public, and new tactics by law enforcement, such as sting operations in SF.

14. cncrim

Posts: 1534; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Welcome future.

15. DBounce

Posts: 167; Member since: Apr 26, 2014

This is great, think of how kill switches deter crime. Kill switches could go on cars, boats, guns, businesses and houses. I think people should be fitted with them also. After all, it's people that commit the crimes. We would all be so much safer. I for one can't wait. Bring it!

16. Anonn

Posts: 230; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

I want a kill switch in my gf !

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