Interview with Rob Kao of Snap Secure (formerly SmrtGuard)

By Kevin Michaluk on 9 Jan 2012 03:12 pm EST
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Snap Secure

Turning back the clock a few years to the first mobile conference I ever attended (WES 2007), one of the first people I met at the show who welcomed me with open arms was Rob Kao. Over the years we've kept up with Rob through his various endeavors in the BlackBerry space, including the launch of SmrtGuard, which was a big hit with the CrackBerry community. With CES 2012 in full swing, I caught up with Rob who brought us up to speed with the status of where things are at. As it turns out, SmrtGuard has actually been sold and is now Snap Secure. Keep reading for the full Q&A!

Interview with Rob Kao

Q: What is your connection with the BlackBerry community?
RK: I've been using and developing for BlackBerry since 2003. My first BlackBerry was the 6210 "BlueBerry". Wow, I feel...dated. About a year after I started developing for BlackBerry, my co-author and I wrote the first edition of BlackBerry for Dummies (Wiley). Originally we had intended to write a BB development book, which we finally got to write in 2011 - Beginning BlackBerry 7 Development (Apress).

Q: CrackBerry Nation has seen your SmrtGuard product from beta until now, can you tell us about how it became Snap Secure?
RK:
It has been a journey and great experience. My team and I have met so many enthusiastic users via the CrackBerry Nation during the beta period that gave us good feedback on the product. Since our official launch on CB back in 2009, it has been a roller coaster meeting various strategic partners. In 2011, we met and engaged with Exclaim Mobility (the acquirer) because it was a good choice for us. After the acquisition in late October of 2011, we rebranded SmrtGuard to Snap Secure.

Q: What is your perspective on Mobile Security and why it is so important to BlackBerry and mobile users right now?
RK:
When people think about security (desktop or mobile), most immediately think about firewall and anti-malware. While I believe those items are very important parts, mobile security needs a broader scope (compared with desktop security). When users are walking around with a BlackBerry, it is on and can receive/send data and calls. Due to the nature of mobile devices and how people use them, mobile security needs to protect the user and the phone itself. Just "scan the phone" for malware isn't good enough. That is why we were so focused on creating a product like Snap Secure.

Q: Can you give examples?
RK:
Sure. Snap Secure starts by backing up users' data, like SMS, contacts, phone logs, email (and more) in case users drops or damages their phone, is transitioning to a new device (or needs cross-platform data migration). In addition to remote locate and wipe we also provide one-push panic button that can trigger an outgoing call, twitter, SMS, and email message with your location information in case of a physical emergency. Furthermore, we also provide call blocking so users don't have to be bothered by unwanted calls. Again, what we are trying to do is to provide a comprehensive mobile security services for our users instead of just trying to scan people's phone (which we do as well).

Q: What about BlackBerry Protect? Why should people use Snap Secure (SmrtGuard) when they can get BlackBerry Protect for free?
RK:
We believe BlackBerry Protect is a vanilla solution. What we offer is a comprehensive protection service for users and their Blackberry. Let's take locate as an example. Both BlackBerry Protect and Snap Secure can locate user's BlackBerry. However, Snap Secure offers live tracking with location history (bread-crumbs), where BB Protect offers one time tracking that you have to keep refreshing or relogin to the Protect website. Both Protect and Snap Secure back up user's data, but with Snap Secure you can see your data and export it at any time. Also, if you are migrating from another smartphone platform to BlackBerry, Snap Secure can migrate data for you. Can't do that with Protect. Not to mention we offer various other features that Protect does not.

Q: So, what can we expect from Snap Secure going forward?
RK:
We are committed to keep providing comprehensive protection service for mobile users, so you will see new features, design updates and services from us in 2012.

Thanks for the time, Rob. Best of luck with Snap Secure!

18 comments

the brother

CBK, can you tell him $50 is a reedonkulous price for this app....we will pay but give us a fricken bone here.

Exclaim

The Brother,

We have taken note of this matter from our users and have indeed made changes after being acquired, you can check our new pricing list here at crackberry.com or with your phones appstore such as Blackberry Appworld, Android Market and your apple iStore.

Regards,

Snap Secure Team

axllebeer

Seems like it has a lot of good features. I'm served well enought by BB Protect. However this will be a better choice for some I'm sure.

Boldly sent from my 9930

jave.park

Kevin, good post! Rob - good luck.

I loved the SmrtGuard product ever since beta. It has saved me and my wife from losing our smartphones (i got a bb, she has a droid) a few times. Love the multi-user dashboard!

StrMkr

Nice article and Q&A. I am a SmrtGuard (now Snap Secure) user, and find the locate function extremely useful. I have never had an issue with malware or viruses, but better safe than sorry. I have found value using this application, and don't mind paying for that peace of mind it provides.

diegonei

I dropped SmrtGuard for BlackBerry Protect... But.... I still use Personal Guardian! The idea of a panic button is just TOO appealing!

oe-tom

I actually found that Snap Secure/Smrtguard is worth the price, especially with all the cool features it brings in. I've lost my phone numerous times (my kids play with it) and it helped me pinpointed where I left it. Also backs up my 948 business contacts everyday at 4am so that I never lose them. Much better than similar apps, as I can also instal it on my wife's phone and manage it with one family account using the web dashboard...

Small price to pay for all these useful features. Keep the updates coming!

Kuttysark

I Love Smrtguard Pro... But I had a 2 year subscription for smrtguard pro, and unfortunately since Snap Secure has taken over the prices to even renew my subscription just don't seem worth it. I like being rewarded for loyalty and received nothing of the sort.

Exclaim

Kuttysark,

Contact us at esupport@exclaim.com, we will see what we can do for you.

Snap Secure Team

mas87fr

after that interview, I bought it and I use both

TheStrider

Tried to reinstall it today... Bricked my Torch 9800. For joy.

Has anyone else with a Torch 1 seen this problem?

(I manage a bunch of Blackberries with a BES Express server... Recovering from Bricking isn't as annoying as much as having to reinstall all my apps again...)

Exclaim

Strider,

Contact us at esupport@exclaim.com, we will see what we can do for you.

Snap Secure Team

jjhoward2011

I have it running on a BB that is part of a BES. The reason why I don't use Protect is because SmrtGuard works on BES (or BES express).

@StriderNL - I have a Torch and Torch 2, both are running fine.

Exclaim

Good day,

For those seeking or in need of support Snap Secure, formerly SmrtGuard, can be contacted at esupport@exclaim.com.

You can also contact us on the same email address for any comments or suggestions on how we can improve snap secure fr you and your fellow snap secure users.

Thank you,

Snap Secure Team

babygiorgio1

I find that it does not work on os 7. i have the bold 9900

laollis

Snap whatever won't let me log on. I'm sick of paying for crap I can't use. Smrtguard should give me my money back and keep their Snap Crap.