The statistics are evidence of the effectiveness of the iCloud lock that Apple introduced with iOS 7. New York -25%, San Francisco – 40%, London – 50%. And no wonder, it’s a secure way to (almost) make sure that your device is at least no use to anyone else. There were a few holes in the iCloud lock system, but not over the last few iterations of iOS. (Yet. The newly-created serial to lightning connectors might have something to say about that.)
For Android, the dominant device OS, there is no universal built-in lockdown mechanism. Samsung provide one for (some, not all) Galaxys, I’m not sure about HTC, Sony & all the other manufacturers but there certainly isn’t a universal Android equivalent of the iCloud activation lock. Until Lollipop 5.1.
Called Device Protection, in short it’ll lock your phone down until you sign in with your Google Account, whether it’d been reset or not. Google vice president for Android platform Dave Burke says if a smartphone with Device Protection turned on gets stolen, the thief will not be able to use the phone or access its contents at all.
I haven’t found any deeper explanations of Device Protection, but you’d assume (here’s hoping) that it also locks out devices that have been downgraded (i.e. back to KitKat which doesn’t have Device Protection. You’re not supposed to be able to do that from Lollipop but you can, I know this from personal experience) or had a custom ROM (Cyanogenmod, MIUI etc) installed. Otherwise the protection wont be worth anything more than a giggle.
Lollipop is full of innovative, useful features. I had a “wow” moment when texting a friend a (sick) riddle, then following it with the answer – which had been sourced from the webs and presented to me in my predictive text offerings. Now that’s cool.
Of course the usual Android caveat applies – do not necessarily expect your device vendor to offer Lollipop 5.1 to you any time soon. If you have a latest gen device, then you do stand a good chance. If not, well, I suggest that the latest devices are a useful thing to have anyway. Go get yourself one. Start saving for the Galaxy 6, due out in a month. I have, and aim to get one as soon as the opportunity arises.
(Edit, hours later)
Actually, maybe this is my opportunity to look further afield, and I don’t mean the established manufacturers. Xiaomi would have rated a chance, were it not for the compatibility issues that my Mi3-using friends have encountered. Good value at purchase time though, shame it doesn’t stay that way. OnePlus would seem to be the obvious choice here. I’d better do some research on when their new model is due. Running my favourite Cyanogenmod ROM from factory gives this phone a solid advantage in my books.
Currently the local price for the OnePlus is $654 for pretty much more of everything (3GB RAM vs 2GB, 64GB storage vs 16GB) than my Galaxy S5 which costs $707 today. With a hefty price rise (expected $2-300) for the S6, you can understand the value in some market investigation.
Who knows what performance the new OnePlus 2 will bring, I’ll bet it’s substantial though. & you know me; there’s only one thing I want – more.