Readers Ask: What are the differences between SmrtGuard and BlackBerry Protect?

SmrtGuard vs. BlackBerry Protect
By Kevin Michaluk on 17 Apr 2011 11:13 pm
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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.  

The Differences Between SmrtGuard and BlackBerry Protect

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).

SmrtGuard vs. BlackBerry Protect

SmrtGuard Dashboard

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).

Sincerely,

Robert Kao (rob.kao@smrtguard.com)
Founder of SmrtGuard Mobile Security

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3921 (articles) 3285 (forum posts)
45 comments

jave.park

good post kevin!! I for one definitely will keep my SmrtGuard service. You get what you pay for sums it up.

Maiev

Well, I was paying for SmrtGuard a year ago. I crashed my device bad middle of the day, and I activated remote restore... and it didn't work. I mean the backup works and you see the database online and such... but not when you try to restore your device OTA.

I haven't tried to restore OTA over BlacKBerry protect, but even if it doesn't work, at least I'm not paying for it XD!

Maiev

Not to mention, if you want to stop paying for SmrtGuard, you got to delete your personal info off their server before your service ends. Else when it ends, you won't be able to even trigger a database delete, and the only way to make sure your private data is off their server is, subscribing it for 1 month and deleting it off their server :P

My_Countenance

Right now (and for the last few days) I am going to assume that Smrtguard has been working. On every notice after downloading it on my Curve 9530, I am told the service is "temporarily unavailable". So for me right now, the biggest difference for me? I know for sure one of them can't offer me even a rudimentary program right now. Today counts; tomorrow might be too late!

SCrid2000

Any service that parades itself as an antivirus for BlackBerry is feeding off people's illegitimate fears. There's no viruses for BlackBerry, so there's no need for an antivirus.
I refuse to support companies that attempt to increase sales with placebos. That's why I refuse to pay for SmrtGuard's services.
I'll stick to BB Protect.

PS - Kevin, what's the referral bonus you/CrackBerry get for people who purchase SmrtGuard on your recommendation? Or do you just get the 20% Mobihand kickback for CB store purchases?

Artwerks

Even McAfee, with their WaveSecure app, doesn't offer a fake antivirus for BlackBerry!

lencholamas

I agree with you that we haven't seen a lot of viruses yet for BB but I do think there are a bunch of spyware or apps that can listen to your phone calls, read your sms/emails/call logs and such that smrtguard looks for.

For me I'll continue using smartguard because the other features are worth it such as backup, anti-spam/call block, and personal guardian is pretty cool too. I look at the overall feature set. plus it's lightweight compared to protect and less of a battery drain.

zensen

Smartguard looks good for those bits of stuff you needed backedup and protected. Tho there should be a way to delete your stuff on there servers if you do not want it no more.

corrieg

I have used SmrtGuard (paid), with my BB BOLD 9000. It was an efficient working app. The down fall is I don't see reason to continue paying for such products.

BlackBerry app created by RIM are very efficient, the consume less battery power than other apps. I am gald to say after I upgrade to the BB BOLD 9780, I am very content with the BlackBerry Protect "Keep It All in RIM".

jsn204

smartguard looks nice, i didnt know it was that feature rich

but i know for me, i am content with blackberry protect. and there is an also a measure of extra comfort knowing that the hardware/software maker of my phone is also making the security app for it

Maiev

Oh yea, not to mention SmrtGuard eats a lot of battery too... that wasn't too helpful. This was almost a year ago. They might have changed it but... then I won't pay to try :P Cuz BB protect works at the back, never bothers me and... I trust RIM with my data more XD

3Dee

I was going to add this point too - I tried Smartguard a few months back and the battery drain was insane! It's the only app I've tried where I've noticed such a difference.

I bought Buddy Guard Pro instead - a good, simple, cheap app which has a lot of similar features to Protect (which wasn't out at the time) but which crucially allows you to enable features via text, rather than by going to a website. This is the reason I'll keep using it - if my phone is stolen it should be a lot easier to borrow a friend's phone to text wipe/alarm mine than to have to go and find a computer to do it (by which point the phone may have been long gone).

lencholamas

i don't see the battery drain with my BB and i have the latest version of their app

land

Between RIM's free backup/locate/remote-wipe service and the one-time purchase of $5 for Call Blocker PRO (http://su.pr/4EsNod), I'm totally satisfied, and will count this piece of puffery as strike one against Crackberry. Shame, too, because 'til now, I've been a solid fan.

I completely concur with @SCrid2000 about the FUD factor of offering "protection" from NONexistent viruses and all-but-nonexistent spyware. It's the surest sign that the rest of the product isn't worth it, when you have to stir up unreasonable fears to sell your wares. The next thing you know, they'll be figuring out how to display pop-up ads in the BlackBerry browser that imitate alerts saying "Your BlackBerry may have already been infected!"

TomCanuck

First I barely even trust rim with my backups, and until there's an app that'll wipe everything (including memory card) then brick the phone perminantly (and ofc I srsly doubt this to be possible) I'm not coughing up cash for subscriptions....

jasperlin

I wish deleting BlackBerry protect would require a password or something.

if you dont normally have a pw and you lose your phone.. blackberry protect could just be deleted by someone, and they'd walk off with your phone.

Moon_Juice

What I would do, and probably will do if I install this, is place the app inside one of my application sub-folders, and "hide" the icon. I'm thinking the sort of people who'd try to keep a lost or stolen phone rather than seek out the owner, are not the sort of people who'd know to select "show hidden" from the menu and go looking for security apps. Hopefully by the time they figure it out I'll have already remote-locked my device.

Just my two cents.

Rello

I don't know what ya'll talkin bout, but BB Protect doesn't even compare to smrt guard. There is no battery drain on my 8900 and it offers tons more features than BB Protect as seen in the chart in the article. It lets you see the info u have stored as well.

I applaud RIM though for finally giving people a free option as it is more than an acceptable offering when considering its free. I'll be keeping my smrt guard subscription though as i feel more secure with it.

ip.amps

is there any chance that BB Protect will be available in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and the Philippines? :(

hitnar

I have used Smrt Guard for more than a year and it gave me nothing but problems. Support was limited and it took me a few mails just to cancel my account. Yes, it has alot of options, but do you need or use them all?

Disappointed that Kevin didn't do this review. I do a review on my product, I will make the world know that my product is the best available.

Gamesdmc3

blackberry protect will catch up sooner or latter,did smrtguard have all these features at lunch ?

Earl_3

Well I have tried both Smart Guard and Blackberry Protect. While both are great Blackberry Protect weighs in at a wopping 2 mb and for those of you whom are memory conscientious this is not a good option. As far as Smart Guard is concerned to pricey and tempermental. I found a better choice in Mc Afee Wavesecure it offers all the features of the above mentioned and an additional UPA plug in. It gives a little added protection by not allowing you to uninstall with out your chosen access code.

Artwerks

On their website, they're offering 3 months free if you buy a 12 month subscription at 2.99$ per month, billed 44.99$ annually. Let me do the math, 12 months charged at 2.99$ should be charged 35.88$ annually. But I forgot, the 3 FREE months are also charged 2.99$ a month, for a total of 44.85$. The same thing happens with the buy 6 months, get 1 FREE month which charges you higher, 3.28$ per month, for 7 months, not 6.

I'll stick with BlackBerry Protect. Unfortunately, it doesn't do anti-spyware or anti-virus, which is a real necessity nowadays... and for the call blocker thing, pay a one time fee of 3$ instead of a subscription priced at 4.99$ per month, no contract.

Prices were taken from their official website : http://smrtguard.com/smrtguard.jsp

PossumPete

I tried BBProtect just for the ability to backup/restore my contacts. Couldn't restore them to save my life. At least it was a free waste of time.

Itstakenovermylife

I've been a SmrtGuard user for over a year with no complaints. HOWEVER - the screen-shot above of the SmrtGuard Dashboard looks NOTHING like the actual dashboard I log in to. It's not as near as slick and user-friendly as that..

lencholamas

same here, the current dashboard looks different..I asked smrtguard's support team about this today and they said they are rolling out a new dashboard with the ability to group accounts together and track one another(sorta like a family plan) which will be in beta testing soon. Actually sounds pretty cool as my wife is with SG too!

Aztek13

Noone has mentioned Lookout Mobile Security. I've been using it for a while now on my 9700 and it works great for me. It backsup, locates, and (supposedly) has antivirus. All for free. www.mylookout.com

DXBLouie

"BlackBerry Protect is built by RIM and is offered as a free app/service"
Correction:
BlackBerry Protect is built by RIM and is offered as a free app/service to a select few operators world-wide... i'm still to get the damned thing working as my data plan (despite being an unlimited global BIS) allegedly doesn't support it

arturox

I'm from Peru, and here we dont have blackberry maps for my country, so another good thing about SmrtGuard is that uses GoogleMaps instead of BBMaps.

jamesd98ca

Protect uses Bing Maps. not BB Maps

wayfarer58

As a paid up customer, I'm still quite annoyed by one thing: Every time I click "Where I've Been?" I'm told that before using I have to Install Smartphone Maps, etc.. I've got BB Maps and Google Maps installed. This has been going on for months. I've contacted Customer Support twice and both times I've been told (paraphrase): "Yup, that's a problem we're aware of. No fix available." If it's a problm that you're aware of, FIX IT. And don't blame RIM and OS6, that's a cop out.

Witmen

I wonder how much smrt guard paid for this ad. I had SmrtGuard for a long time and when my service ran out I went a few months without it just because I knew BB protect was coming. The amounts of email SmrtGuard sent me trying to get me to subscribe for more service was enough to turn me away from their service.

SmrtGuard is better and has more features, but is it so much better that the cost is worth it? Nope. I'm personally glad to be saving that money now.

bhavi_jp

BB Protect is the name of the game! Enough said!

KennyBB9650

This was a great rundown. I wish somebody would do a similar comparison between the new Blackberry Travel App and Worldmate travel app. I don't understand the difference between these two apps. I am currently using Worldmate Gold version, but would like to know how it stacks up against the newer Blackberry Travel app.

Earl_3

Blackberry Protect is free but again you get what you pay for. How long does it take to delete and reboot? With no UPA you may as well kiss it good bye. So Protect or Guard means the same not Secure.

fyrfighter1955

While I like smrtguard and have it on my phone, having the creator of that app comparing it to another is like having a Ford guy comparing Fords to Chevys. It is not exactly straight up. Come on, if you don't want to answer a question fine. But find someone a who will give a fair test to the situation!

jack_sparrow

I would have expected RIM's take (given that they are BB Protect's developers) on this comparison to level the playing field... as it is, this review simply looks like a SmrtGuard ad, and to me, a blow to Kevin's reputation as a reviewer (becasuse, come on, this ISN'T a review)... I surely didn't expect this low level of mercantilism from the guys at CB... I do hope you get back on track!!!

jack_sparrow

I would have expected RIM's take (given that they are BB Protect's developers) on this comparison to level the playing field... as it is, this review simply looks like a SmrtGuard ad, and to me, a blow to Kevin's reputation as a reviewer (becasuse, come on, this ISN'T a review)... I surely didn't expect this low level of mercantilism from the guys at CB... I do hope you get back on track!!!

Devedander

Since I am on a BES and BB Protect is out for me anyway its nice to know about this although the most useful feature for me would definitely be the remote call forwarding I am not ready to pay basically to have that additional value (and my 30 day trial doesn't even show it so I am thinking perhaps on BB it's not there?)

That said the portal needs to be streamlined a LOT... the competition (lookout) has a very sleek looking one in comparison and something comes to mind... if someone steals the phone and swaps out sim cards, doesn't that ruin the email communication and thus any communication with the app?

bbdata

I tried SG for a while but when one of my past locations (Tracking/Follow-Me) showed up as somewhere in Nigeria (I'm in the US) I immediately deleted it. My first thought was that my data had momentarily been in the hands of someone in Nigeria. Paranoid? Perhaps.

imutan

how about comparing the free version of smartguard with bb protect.

dupuy

The infographic at the top shows you the features available with the free version of SmrtGuard (marked √FREE) - it is a lot less than BlackBerry Protect. In particular, not having the ability to auto-wipe is a real limitation.

I've also found that the accuracy of the tracking feature in SmrtGuard leaves much to be desired - it seems to be using cell tower data rather than GPS, not sure why.

These weaknesses were enough to get me to finally install BlackBerry Protect - but once I did, I saw that it required device memory encryption to be disabled - sorry, that is a non-starter for me and I will be sticking with the free version of SmrtGuard and deleting BlackBerry Protect from my Pearl 3G.

jkannry

Stunning how the review missed the most important featuret. Smart guard hard works with older blackberries like curve 8830