Google is expected to announce the next major version of Android sometime soon, perhaps next week during Google I/O, and today the company confirmed the upcoming operating system will include an anti-theft kill switch. In an official statement on Friday the search giant said it plans to include a “factory reset protection solution,” Bloomberg reports, letting the phone’s owner remotely disable the device if it’s stolen.
The news follows a similar statement from Microsoft just yesterday, promising to update Windows Phone with a kill switch by mid-2015. If Google can offer the same feature later this year it will have a huge lead against the competing OS. Android also boasts a much larger market share than Windows Phone, meaning that Google’s kill switch could have huge impact on decreasing the amount of smartphone thefts overall.
Apple also offers a kill switch for the iPhone, which it introduced last year with iOS 7. Since then, iPhone thefts have dropped significantly as thieves learned that the new software makes it much harder to resell stolen Apple products. Hopefully we’ll see the same thing happen for Android devices, though it’s still unclear exactly when Google will roll out its new anti-theft feature.