The All Important Personal Mobile Device – How to Keep it Safe?

It’s 2007 and cell phones can already do the following: access your e-mail, act as a pager, instant message, text message, take pictures and videos, play video games, browse the Web, play back music, videos and radio, wake you up, be your addressbook, be a map, with built-in GPS figure out where you are and give you directions, and there’s even one that has a built-in breathalyzer.

Nokia is already testing using phones as payment systems and electronic wallets. How long before our phones also act as your biometric ID or more? How about those keyless entry systems that are now common in cars and also available integrated into home security systems? Why can’t those be integrated into phones too?

People are turning more and more to smartphones that act more like computers than just phones. All of this sounds great, and while I look forward to integrating more of my life into fewer devices and having it at my fingertips constantly, I worry about losing this all important mobile device. What can, nay do, we do to protect against loss? Here’s one rough idea: embed an RFID (or similar tech) chip into your skin that is uniquely tied to your mobile. When your mobile gets out of some predefined range of your body, either the embedded chip or your phone will sound an audible warning.

Now what if this doesn’t work and you are unavoidably separated from your mobile; let’s say you were walking over a bridge and dropped your phone through the grates and it plunged to a watery death or you are robbed? Well I’m not too worried about first situation, as I’ll just get a new mobile and restore my settings from my backup. The second scenario worries me. How do I zap my phone remotely so that all of my data is destroyed and safe from prying eyes? A local password can be a pain to use on a constant basis and potentially hacked. I want to be able to call my cell provider and have them immediately send a signal to wipe my mobile. Note to vendors and service providers – get on that, would ya?

Speaking of backups, one more important request to mobile makers. You make enough drool-inducing products to make people keep switching their mobiles constantly. However, people typically have to go through a significant amount of pain to get their data transferred over to their new gadgets. When are you all going to get together and set up a standard data format (exportable to XML will be fine) so that this process as well as backing up will be standardized and easy? PS> No matter how many good products you make, people being what they are, they’re going to switch vendors from time to time.