Samsung Galaxy S4 to add new built-in cellphone tracker, for a cost.
Lee Jin-man/ AP Photo/ File
The Samsung Galaxy S4 now comes with a new technology that will help users track down their missing or stolen smart phone or, in dire situations, kill the phone.
While skilled phone hackers can circumvent phone-tracking applications – such as the popular "Find My iPhone" – the LoJack system is built into a smart phone's core, or its firmware. To unlock the phone and turn off the tracking device, the thief would have to destroy the firmware, in effect ruining the phone. Of course, there is also the cathartic (and perhaps practical) benefit of being able to "kill" a device when users are unable to retrieve it from a thief. "Killing" a phone renders it useless, meaning that a new operating system cannot be installed.
The feature costs $29.99 per year and includes the cost of tracking down the phone. The LoJack software feature from Absolute Software has previously been available only for laptops and tablets. This is the first time that the technology will be built into the phone itself.
Building tracking capabilities into cellphones like the Samsung Galaxy 4S reflects the rising incidences of phone theft in the past few years, says Mark Grace, the vice president of consumer global at Absolute Software.