iTag, which launched here at CTIA today, is a little like LoJack for lost or stolen Android phones. Or, to make a more relevant comparison, it’s a rough equivalent of Apple’s Find My iPhone, with a dash of location-based social networking tossed in for good measure –a service that can help you locate your phone or, if it seems to be gone forever, make sure that nobody else can get at your private data.
Among its features:
- The ability to make your phone ring–even if its ringer is turned off–which is handy if you’ve simply misplaced the handset somewhere around the house;
- A feature which detects if someone has inserted a different SIM card in the phone and then alerts you of that fact;
- The ability to remotely lock the phone and delete data from it;
- Over-the-air backup and restore of your contacts;
- Simple location features that let you send your location via SMS to a contact, or request that someone send his or her location to you.
- A feature (which you can disable) that alerts you when you’re near friends who are also running iTag.
Find My iPhone is part of Apple’s $100-per-year suite of Mobile Me services. But iTag Founder and CEO Lance Parker told me that most of iTag’s features will be free, (Some advanced ones–such as the backup, restore, and remote data wipe–will cost $20 a year.) The iTag Android app has a feature that lets you broadcast an ad for the service to friends; if you alert three of them, iTag will give you free premium service for life. (Better make sure your buddies have Android phones before you bother them.)
The iTag Android app runs in the background on your phone–Parker says it’s been optimized so as not to drain your battery any faster than it has to. He also mentioned ambitious plans for the next few months, including iTag clients for other major phone OSes and a new feature that will use Bluetooth to keep track of where you parked your car in public lots. (Now that I could use.)
iTag just went live on the Android Market store, but it looks like the company may still be working out some kinks: I’ve been unable to log into my account from iTag.com or use the password recovery feature, and an option on the site that’s supposed to text-message you a download link for the software doesn’t seem to be working. If it works well it could be a keeper, so I’ll check back later. For now, here’s iTag’s own video walkthrough: