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Sunday, June 5, 2011

AndroidLost Gives You Remote Access To Your Lost Android Phone

The private data that you carry around with yourself on your smartphone can really hurt you if your phone gets misplaced and lands in the wrong hands. AndroidLost is a free app for Android phones that, in combination with a web interface, allows you to remotely sound an alarm on or send a popup message to your misplaced Android phone from your computer, view your phone’s location on a map, lock it with a pin code of your choice, read its status (battery, temperature etc.), toggle WiFi and/or GPS, send SMS, read received SMS, forward incoming calls to a number of your choice, wipe your phone’s SD card or order it to execute a factory reset via web or SMS commands sent from another phone. The app is in beta as of this writing.
To begin using AndroidLost with your Android phone, you must first install the app from the Android Market (link provided at the end), launch it from your app drawer and select Request Administrator Rights > Activate (If, after this , you wish to uninstall the application, you will have to revoke its administrator rights from Menu > Display hidden keys > Remove Administrator Rights.o uninstall it). The app automatically registers online with your device’s primary Google account. Once that is done, open the AndroidLost website in your internet browser, Sign In (top-right corner) with your device’s primary Google account, then navigate to the Controls page.
Although the description under the Alarm feature says “siren”, what we heard during our test-run was a short, loud beep. The length of the beep remained the same no matter what the alarm duration was set to. Our guess is that it was the sound of the ring volume being temporarily increased to maximum and that the siren failed to sound.
The Location page allows you to retrieve your phone’s current location. Simply click the Send locationbutton and whenever your phone connects to the internet, it will receive a command that will cause it to mail its current location to the registered Gmail account . So no matter where you drop your phone, if it’s in one piece, has an active internet connection and AndroidLost installed, you can find it.
The GPS fixed interval feature is a work in progress. We tested it on an HTC Desire running CyanogenMod 7 and an HTC Desire Z running a Gingerbread Sense ROM and it failed to work on both.
Through the Status page, you can tell your phone to mail its current battery and voltage levels, temperature, WiFi/GPS status etc. and can toggle the GPS and/or WiFi state.
Phone-StatusPopup Message
You can even have a popup message appear on your phone’s screen from the Message popup option on the Messages page. Particularly useful if you don’t have another phone close at hand and want to leave a note on the screen for whoever finds your device.
The same page includes options to have your phone send to SMS message any number and mail the last ten received and last ten sent SMS to the registered Gmail account in tabular form, complete with phone numbers, date and time info and message bodies.
In case you lose your phone at a time when both its WiFi and data are disabled, you can control it via SMS commands sent from another phone, provided its number has been previously registered with the app via the SMS allow option at the top of the Security page.
The Lock phone option on the same page allows you to lock your phone with a PIN code of your choice. Clicking Lock phone with the PIN field empty removes the unlock security.
We tested the Wipe phone feature with the Also wipe external storage option checked and it worked flawlessly. The Erase SD Card feature, however, returned a force close error every time.
Even in beta, AndroidLost is perhaps one of the most feature-rich remote access solutions on the Market. At this point, all it needs is a few fixes here and there and it might very well outdo every other app in its genre. Although the current interface is a little bland and could use an overhaul, it doesn’t need one. The app is, after all, for the rare instance that you lose your phone and that doesn’t happen everyday, does it?
chart (3)You can download the beta for free from the Android Market via the provided link or QR code or from the Get Started page on the app’s website.

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