Google, Microsoft to add kill switches to their smartphones to reduce theft

20 Jun, 2014

Google Inc and Microsoft Corp are planning to incorporate 'kill switches' into the next versions of their Android and Windows mobile operating systems, respectively, in an effort to reduce theft and robberies of smartphones, according to an Associated Press report. The new development is as part of the 'Secure our Smartphones' initiative launched by the US government.

With the kill switches in place, users will be able to render their phone useless remotely, in case of theft or robbery.

Apple Inc has already added a kill switch to its phones. According to a research report, after the addition of the kill switch, robberies of its products have dropped 19 per cent in the first five months of 2014 compared to last year.

According to Google spokesman Christopher Katsaros, the next version of Android will include a factory reset protection solution to help deter smartphone theft, while Microsoft will offer 'theft-deterrent features' as an update for all phones running Windows Phone 8.0 and the newer.

The iPhone switch is an opt-in feature so that users need to activate to use it. It allows the user to locate the phone on a map and remotely lock or erase it.