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Kill switch function coming in next Android update

As we approach Google I/O, more details are surfacing about some changes being made to the next version of Android, like ART becoming the default runtime, followed by the surprise arrival of Android 4.4.4. Today, Google has issued a statement saying that they will incorporate a kill switch to the next version of the OS for smartphones in trying to reduce the theft rate of mobile devices.

 © SF District Attorney

Apple was the first to implement this measure which resulted consequently in the company noticing the amount of iPhone theft greatly reducing, seeing as thieves were now not as determined to steal one since all they would be getting was a bricked device. Even in politics, there’s a bill pushing for this to be mandatory for all phones in the US. Not just Google is following suit, but Microsoft as well.

At the moment, all Android devices come with the Android Device Manager feature which can be switched on or off in your phone’s settings, which allows you to track the phone, make it ring, wipe its contents with a reset, among some other features (learn how to use Android Device Manager). We aren’t sure at the moment how this so-called ‘’factory reset protection solution” feature to render a phone totally useless will be added to the existing features, but we will hopefully find out next week when the Google I/O kicks off.

AndroidPIT Android Device Manager Remote Lock
This is the Android Device Manager at present, so the Kill Switch feature could be added to this. / © AndroidPIT/Google

During the Federal Communications Commission meeting, the Chairman Tom Wheeler said:

“It’s not enough” to offer phone-disabling systems that work only if consumers choose to use them, Wheeler said. “It is time to have an automatic, common solution.”

US Senator Amy Cloubar also supports the idea when she said:

“We’re never going to get to the end of incentives to steal unless the thieves know they’re stealing a brick,” Klobuchar said today at the meeting.

I for one think that having this function is a great idea. If someone steals my phone, I don’t want them to be able to use it at all. Needless to say, wiping it is always a good idea, but rendering it unusable is even better.

And again, the Google I/O is just around the bend, so we should hear more on this soon. What do you think of this new feature for Android devices?

Via: Phandroid Source: Bloomberg

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  • As a side note, the Galaxy S5 and LG G3 already have the kill switch. The Korean government introduced a bill mid-last year making it a legal requirement. The Governor of Minnesota also just signed a new law , stating that as of July 1st, 2015 it will be illegal to sell a smartphone that doesn't have a kill switch or other anti-theft protection pre-installed..

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