Say what you want about the iPhone, one of the phone’s single greatest features is the ability to prevent the device from being factory reset and used by another party as their own (without permission, of course). But in a statement issued today by Google, the search giant will finally be implementing a similar feature for the next major Android release.
But Google isn’t the only one. Microsoft will also be joining Google in offering this “factory reset protection solution.” It’s unclear whether the new security feature will join existing ones found in the Android Device Manager, but we’re sure to learn more during Google I/O kicking off in a few more days.
This is all in an effort to curb smartphone thefts and couldn’t have come at a better time. A recent reports showed a 19% drop off in iPhone thefts from 2013 to 2014 thanks to Apple’s kill switch feature on their devices. Don’t forget, a new bill introduced in February is looking to require all phones sold in the US to include kill switch functionality. Senators believe that this is the only way to truly prevent smartphone thefts, making it common knowledge that would-be smartphone thieves are getting little more than a shiny new brick.
While we weren’t expecting to see “the next version of Android” debut until later this year (for Android Silver or another Nexus device), Android 4.4.4 made a surprise appearance today on Nexus/Google Play edition devices. It’s possible the kill switch could arrive in yet another version of KitKat, or in the next major Android release (Android 5.0 Lollipop or whatever you wanna call it). We’ll have to wait until we hear more from Google.