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August 2, 2013

Android Device Manager

It looks like Google really wants to close the gap between Android and iOS and add all the missing features. After Google Play Games and Google Cast, Google will add a feature that lets you find your lost phone. There are many third-party apps that offer this feature (some are even included by hardware manufacturers), but nothing beats a built-in feature like "Find my iPhone", especially when it's free and easy to use.

"If you ended up dropping your phone between those couch cushions, Android Device Manager lets you quickly ring your phone at maximum volume so you can find it, even it's been silenced. And in the event that your phone or tablet is out of earshot (say, at that restaurant you left it at last night), you can locate it on a map in real time. (...) If your phone can't be recovered, or has been stolen, you can quickly and securely erase all of the data on your device."

This service will be available later this month for all devices running Android 2.2 or later. It will integrate with your Google Account and you'll be able to install an app that lets you find and manage your devices.

If I were to guess, the service will be added to the next Play Services update. The app is updated automatically by Google Play Store and it requires Android 2.2 or later. Now it also has an icon: you can find it as Google Settings, which groups various settings related to Google+, Google Play Games, location, search, ads, app scanning.

What other standard iOS features would you like to see in Android? I really like "scroll to top", battery percentage in the status bar, changing permissions for each app (location, contacts, photos), "do not disturb" and the full iCloud backup. Some are available in CyanogenMod, TouchWiz, HTC Sense or in third-party apps.


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