Lost Your Android Phone? iTag Can Find It

21 Comments

My phone is typically never out of my sight. I’ve actually been accused of having it stuck to my hand, and I generally don’t deny that. There are a few rare times, however, when I suddenly realize that I haven’t seen my phone for a whole five minutes. Yes, if you want to see a mobile tech geek panic, secretly hide their phone and let the fun begin.

When I used an iPhone (s aapl), I thought about adding the Mobile Me service, which includes a Find My Phone feature. But I didn’t think I’d use the other features as much and $99 a year is too much just for a phone locator service. Add in the fact that I dumped the iPhone for an Android device and I’m up the creek if my Nexus One is lost. Or maybe not, thanks to iTag’s timely launch at the CTIA.

The iTag service, just released in public beta, can track and locate a lost Android (s goog) phone, although support for other mobile platforms is planned in the near future. An iTag application — found in the Android Market — runs unobtrusively in the background so the service knows your handset’s location as needed, courtesy of the GPS radio in the phone. Using the iTag web site, you can see your phone on a map with the press of button. I tested that function earlier this morning around the streets of New York City and it worked like a charm, as shown in the map above. The locate functionality is free, but iTag offers several advanced features for premium memberships, bringing it on par with Apple’s similar feature set.

Premium iTag membership provides more of a total protection plan. For example, you can lock your lost device from the iTag web site or wipe the data from your phone. You can back up and restore your contacts over the air as well. And if your phone gets into the wrong hands before you know it, iTag will alert you if the SIM card is replaced. All of these over-and-above services are how iTag will make money, but the first 10,000 iTag subscribers will automatically gain a lifetime premium subscription at no cost — once those spots fill up, folks will pay $20 a year for the premium features.

There’s a bit of a social aspect to iTag as well. If your friends use iTag and you lose your phone, you can see if anyone you know is near it. Of course, that means you and your peeps have to configure the iTag privacy settings appropriately — if you don’t want your phone’s location shared, you can simply turn that feature off. And at any time, you can use the iTag app to shoot your exact location to anyone via a text message link — even if they’re not an iTag user. During my test, it worked reasonably well, although the location sent was off by a block and a half here in the Big Apple. Still, in a pinch, this feature is a quick and easy way to shoot your location to friends or family. That’s icing on the cake if it can help me find my phone — if I ever put it down again, that is.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Location-Based Services: From Mobile to Mobility

21 Comments

Dave

http://www.mylookout.com

Has anyone checked out mylookout.com? It’s a free app for the Droid, “Outlook Mobile Security”. Seems to be working great on my phone. Blocks viruses and Malware, Scans and backs up memory Card, I checked out the lost phone feature and it activates a loud alarm on your phone, even if it’s on vibrate. Also has GPS locator. Pretty cool feature I think. Let me know your thoughts. Dave

BKA

I lost my HTC hero over the weekend and am desperately trying to find it. I have tried Sprints Friends and Family locator but it can’t find my phone because it is either now turned off or the battery is dead. My questions – can I use this service without it being downloaded to my phone? Will it be able to locate my phone if it is turned off or has a dead battery?

rebecca

As one user commented, it is strange to see all these Wave Secure comments here. Almost like they might have come over and made the comments themselves.

Hmmmm…..

Mike Scheble

iTag works great! My girlfriend borrowed my phone and left it in a Taxi! Thanks to iTag I was able to track it down without a problem. Great App!!

Kate

iTag is revolutionary and it looks like they won 2nd place at CTIA’s Emerging Technology Award. FINALLY an app that does NOT drain my battery! This Android is too expensive to go MIA – great article Kevin. Thanks for the heads up.

rebecca

Thanks for this write-up! Going to sign on for iTag for sure. Recently lost my phone and had to be sedated.

This is a huge necessity and iTag sounds great.

Best,
Rebecca

Lance

Lance @ iTag here. We appreciate all the feedback for the launch of iTag in public beta. We have fixed the issues and the newest version is on Android Market and also available from iTag.com.

Thought I would comment on a few things.

If you miss the first 10,000 free premium membership offer, you can get the same premium lifetime membership by getting three friends to download the free version.

iTag is designed to have very little, if any, impact on the battery. We have unique intellectual property around this. You will not hear an iTag user have battery issues.

Please contact support@itag.com if you have any questions or problems. We are here in the U.S. and are working hard to make this a great, fun and useful application. Stay tuned for the release of more mobile platforms.

P.S. We took 2nd place at the Emerging Technology Awards this year. Thanks to all that voted!

DrP

Public beta??? You are using the public to test your app. Did you do any testing? The location is consistently wrong and many of the features do not work. Especially the one to get support. PUBLIC BEWARE!!! THIS APP IS CRUDE AND NEEDS WORK!!!

rosie

Don’t use it. It locked up my phone. I had to going to Verizon for help.

Christopher

Strange that the post is on itag but almost every comment is on WaveSecure. I’m using WaveSecure too and it gets my vote!

Baochi Nguyen

Kevin: thanks so much for writing about iTag. I wish this app service existed when I lost my G1 in New York City during Halloween. Talk about full-blown panic!

Now, I’m impelled to try out iTag for my Nexus One.

Thanks!

Baochi

distortedloop

Along with WaveSecure, I am also testing MobileDefense on my Nexus One. They’re all similar, but what I like best about MD is, unlike the others, it doesn’t sit there running 24/7 sucking up juice…it only runs when an SMS is sent from the server to activate the app.

Suman Gandham

WaveSecure is a good app but the issue with them is when you have activate your SIM with PIN lock and when you try lock the sim card to test WaveSecure its impossible to unlock again until you remove the simcard insert in to new phone and disable the PIN .

May be its a minor issue but important one .

Andrew

Second on the wavesecure vote – free until the end of March I believe for Android users. Offers remote lock, wipe, locate & basic data backup/restore. Will check out iTag too, see how they compare.

Matt

Also check out WaveSecure. Its in beta, but you can grab a free lifetime subscription for now.

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