Google and Microsoft to bring kill switch to smartphones

Android and Microsoft will be introducing a kill switch feature into their smartphone operating systems.

Despite it being long overdue the BBC are reporting that the two tech companies have finally agreed to introduce the feature that will remotely wipe and 'brick' the smartphone, which means it would be rendered completely useless.

Android and Microsoft have been put under considerable pressure from New York's attorney general Eric Schneiderman after he initiated a new campaign not long ago called Secure our Smartphones.

They would be following in the footsteps of Apple and Samsung who already have such a feature in their respective mobile operating system.

In Apple's iOS 7 users have access to a feature called Find My iPhone which can be used to track, wipe and disable a lost or stolen iPad, iPhone, iPod or even a Macbook. Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones also has the feature built-in which operates in the same way as Find My iPhone.

The kill switch is a tried and tested feature, and is proving a real success in deterring mobile phone thieves already. iPhone thefts have dropped considerably since the launch of Find My iPhone. In London robberies fell by 24%, in San Francisco they dropped by 38% and in New York they are down by 19%.

Mr Schneiderman said: "The commitments of Google and Microsoft are giant steps toward consumer safety and the statistics released today illustrate the stunning effectiveness of kill switches."

There has been no date set for the integration of the kill switch, but once installed it will mean 97% of all smartphones on sale in the United States will be equipped with the feature.