While the United States Government is considering a bill that would require a kill-switch be installed on smartphones in order to reduce theft, Google appears to be working on its own system that will, among other things, help you locate your lost phone before you wipe it. It will also attempt to lessen platform fragmentation by installing strict standards that phones will have to reach in order to be a part of the program.
Android Police has obtained images of Google’s planned “Android Silver” program. The documents come from the end of last year, so as Android Police points out, the program may be modified or scrapped altogether before it is turned into action, but it is nevertheless an exciting new program for Android users.
Android Silver is aimed at the carriers that sell phones to consumers, and not Google’s own sales of devices. Rather, phones that are running the latest version of Android without heavy modifications (say goodbye to most Samsung and HTC phones) will be included in a special display called “Android Silver.” Salespeople would also need to be trained to do things like help users link their Google accounts and transfer everything from their old phone to their new “Android Silver” phone.
Google will also be adding a new “Never lost” feature to its device manager, allowing users to locate, lock or suspend wireless service on their device easily. Locating and locking phones remotely have been available through third party apps, but it will be nice to see the features come included.
Additionally, customers participating in the Android Silver program will be able to get a “loaner” phone to use if they lose theirs, allowing them to stay connected while they look for their phone.
Again, the documents that revealed this program are old and predate two major trade shows where Google could have shown off the program if they wanted to, so it is very possible that they have abandoned it.
But, it does seem like an interesting program and it is something worth keeping an eye out for in the future.
Thanks to Simon for the tip.