Going back to March 2009 when CrackBerry first announced the public beta, SmrtGuard immediately become a popular choice among BlackBerry BIS users for its ability to backup device data remotely, and via a web dashboard, allow users to login and execute a number of actions, such as locating a lost BlackBerry. Since its launch, SmrtGuard has continued to roll out a number of new value-added features, offering the basics for free and premium features for a price.
Just last month, RIM released their own app along the same premise, called BlackBerry Protect, which at a glance looks a lot like SmrtGuard and appears to offer a similar feature set. Of course, BlackBerry Protect is built by RIM and is offered as a free app/service, which immediately makes for a compelling download choice.
Since BlackBerry Protect hit the scene, I've received quite a few emails from readers asking us to compare the two services. Does it make sense to pay for the full version of SmrtGuard? Or is the free version of BlackBerry Protect good enough? Not wanting to delay any longer and being swamped at the moment with all the BlackBerry PlayBook craziness, I decided to take a different approach on answering this one and reached out to Rob Kao, SmrtGuard's Founder, to walk us through the comparison. I figured he's more hands-on than anybody with these apps, so would be able to provide us with an accurate tale of the tape and further insight on the comparison. Keep reading to see what he has to say, and if you've used both SmrtGuard and BlackBerry Protect in the past, be sure to chime in on the comments with your personal findings.
When Kevin asked us to tell CrackBerry readers the difference between BlackBerry Protect and SmrtGuard Mobile Security, we felt the need to present to all CB Nation our features compared to BlackBerry Protect in a fair light. After all, we feel grateful to have CB readers helped us shape the product in the early days of development (and still welcome new product feature requests). Let's get right to it then.
As you can see from the table below, both SmrtGuard Mobile Security and BlackBerry Protect can locate, backup, loud ring, and wipe your beloved BlackBerry Smartphone. What the checks shown on the table do not show is that SmrtGuard has a few more in depth features for each of the functions. For example, on locate, both offer the function for free, however, SmrtGuard gives you the ability to view location history and track (so you don't have to keep pressing locate button). In addition, SmrtGuard's new dashboard allows you to add family and friends that have BlackBerry as well as other type of smartphones, see figure below (the multi-user dashboard will be available to everyone in two weeks).
On the backup front, SmrtGuard not only backs up more data items, but it also allows you to view and export backed-up data to excel format from SmrtGuard's dashboard. Also, with SmrtGuard, you can backup and restore across different smartphone platforms. For example, you can back-up from an iPhone/iPad or an Android and restore to a BlackBerry smartphone when you making the switch. Of course, you can back up from a BlackBerry and restored to a new BlackBerry (or other lesser smartphone platform) with ease. Although backup/restore function is a paid-for feature, you definitely get what you paid for compared to BlackBerry Protect.
One thing BlackBerry Protect does have that SmrtGuard does not is the ability to display a message on your Home screen remotely, which is useful to display a message to whom ever found or stole you BlackBerry.
The similarity between SmrtGuard Mobile Security and BlackBerry Protect stops there. While we won't go through every single feature (and features of our Android and iOS platforms), there are a couple of features many of you really like - the ability to call block and remote call forwarding. If you want to avoid picking up calls from certain people or even prevent them from leaving a voicemail, you know having a call blocking application is useful. SmrtGuard has built in call blocking as one of its anti-spam feature. Not only does it tracks the number of blocked calls you've blocked, it also backs up the list of blocked numbers so as you move to another BlackBerry (or Android), you don't have to re-enter them again! So, instead of paying for a stand-alone app like Privacy Star (2.99 a month) for call blocking, it is already part of SmrtGuard Mobile Security.
Also from our user surveys, SmrtGuard has saved many of you numerous times with the remote call forwarding feature. For those who are not familiar with it, what is it used for? Imagine you forget your BlackBerry at home, but only realizing it when it was too late (like when you arrived in your office). With SmrtGuard, it lets a user call forward a BlackBerry to another number (like a work phone) - all remotely from the SmrtGuard dashboard.
Clearly there are some overlaps in free features between SmrtGuard Mobile Security and BlackBerry Protect; it's evident that RIM is providing BlackBerry users the basics with BlackBerry Protect while SmrtGuard is a comprehensive mobile security solution for smartphone users (BlackBerry, Android, iOS).
Robert Kao (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Founder of SmrtGuard Mobile Security