BlackBerry maker RIM has shown a new free application that owners can use to track their much-loved smartphones in the event they are lost, stolen, or simply misplaced around the house.
In beta until later this year, the simplest and perhaps most useful feature of BlackBerry Protect is the way it can be used to trace a mislaid BlackBerry. Users log in to Protect web portal and activate the 'loud ring' feature, which causes the BlackBerry to advertise its location for one minute, hopeful from a nearby location.
The feature works as long as the phone is switched on and will override the silent mode setting. Failing that, the ringer will default to maximum volume to allow users to phone the handset instead.
In the event that the phone is lost in a public place, the Protect app portal can be used to remotely set up a password and lock setting on the device as a way of protecting data from prying eyes. A 'lost and found' screen can also be set.
In order to locate the lost smartphone, the GPS function allows the portal to track the BlackBerry's exact map location. If the device has been stolen, a remote wipe feature can be used to delete all stored data from the device, including from any installed Micro-SD card.
A wireless backup function, which should have been set first, allows lost data to be restored to a new BlackBerry.
Members of the Beta Zone can get hold of the pre-release version of the app from this week via invite codes but all other BlackBerry users will have to wait until later this year to use Protect, the company said.