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SmrtGuard Your Smartphone Guardian

By Ryan Blundell on 28 Jul 2009 09:16 am EDT
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SmrtGuard

Your BlackBerry; your life is literally in your hands. You’ve confided in it more information than you would ever dare to with your significant other or best friend. Private personal messages, embarrassing photos, delicate corporate information; your BlackBerry smartphone can store it all. But what happens if your BlackBerry loses it? Or worse yet - you lose your BlackBerry? Dun Dun Dunnnnnnn!!! You feel your body go cold and numb with fear, except for the incredibly sick feeling that’s building up in your stomach. Your lips fight to hold back the flurry of expletives demanding to be released.

At this point, you’re frantically searching for it, calling it, desperately hoping to hear it ring or vibrate. Some are lucky and are reunited, others have to come to terms with their loss. Despair quickly shifts back to fear as you realize another reality – Whose hands are my BlackBerry in now?!? Unless they’re a good Samaritan, they now have access to everything, reveling in what was once your property. If only you had backed up your information. If only you could track its location. If only you could wipe it remotely. If only…you had SmrtGuard!

About SmrtGuard

SmrtGuard was created by a company of the same name. We have previously looked at some of their other products -- Follow Up! and PeeKaWho -- and SmrtGuard has been mentioned on the blogs a few times before but had yet to go under my full review process. It’s available for BlackBerrys running OS 4.2 or higher and, for this review, we looked at version 1.80. The application is designed to help you keep tabs on your BlackBerry and its contents. You know, because it likes to sneak out when you’re sleeping and get into a little trouble now and then. Without having to dash to your computer, the application grants you the power to wirelessly backup data found on your BlackBerry smartphone. On top of that, if your BlackBerry finds itself too deep and doesn’t come home that night, you can slip down into your Batcave, login at smartguard.com and begin sleuthing. Let’s see what SmrtGuard has in its utility belt.

On your BlackBerry smartphone

SmrtGuard Main Menu
the main menu

Looking behind the application icon/shield, you will find four buttons at the main screen, in order:

Backup: The backup feature can be activated manually or can be set to automatic. You can set backups to occur daily, weekly or monthly. When choosing the automatic backup feature, you can choose specific days and time (every hour on the hour). Below the setup for automatic backup, you will find the Backup status field. Here, you can select/deselect which items to backup; choose between; contacts, memos, tasks, events, call logs, emails and SMS. After each back up, you can see the status of each item. For example: my Memos would show “Success Mon 20”, which means I successfully backed up my Memos on Monday, the 20th of this month. The backup process does take a few minutes to perform, though no longer than you would find with the BlackBerry Desktop Manager.

Restore: This menu is a little more simplified. Here, you can select/deselect the items you wish to restore/retrieve from the server. When restoring, you do run the risk of creating duplicate entries, so the application will ask if you want to delete what is on your BlackBerry first.

Your Data: There isn’t much functionality in this section. It serves to show you the current entry count in each of your items (memo, event, email, etc).

FollowMe: SmrtGuard will ask if you will be traveling on foot or in vehicle. If by foot, you will be tracked every 5 minutes, if by vehicle, it’s every 3 minutes. Once you stop the FollowMe feature, you can head over to the Web Dashboard and see where you have traveled.

SmrtGuard also includes two additional features to help keep you and your BlackBerry from falling into the wrong hands:

Personal-Guardian: Similar to what you would find with Emporia/ CLARiTY products, SmrtGuard can send out emergency calls, SMS and email with a push of a button. Once activated, you will only have to press/hold the menu key for 8 seconds to communicate with your emergency contacts. The application has 911 entered into the Phone and SMS contact by default, but can be changed. You cannot access your address book for these fields. Where you can access is in the email field. For emails, you will also be asked to create a subject and body. In the email, your location info will be listed as well (based on cellular triangulation).

SIMCard Guardian: This will keep track of which SIM cards are registered and authorized to be in your BlackBerry. A list of registered SIM cards will be listed below, which can be removed if need be.

SmrtGuard Backup
The SmrtGuard Backup

SmrtGuard Personal Guardian
Personal Guardian

SmrtGuard SIMCard Guardian
SIMCard Guardian

From the Dashboard

After you login to the SmrtGuard Web Dashboard, you are granted access to some excellent tracking/monitoring options, as well as your backed up items. Lets look at the dashboard first and the options available to you.

SmrtGuard Dashboard
SmrtGuard Dashboard

From the dashboard, you can locate and start/stop tracking your BlackBerry. You’ll be able to view the generalized information by using Google Maps, and by choosing Track My BB, it will show its location every 5 minutes. It’s not pin point accurate, but it does help narrow down your search. By default, you can view location history for the past 24 hours, but you can increase or decrease this value if need be. On the map, you can see various markers indicating information including; the hot location marker, last known location, previous location markers and a recorded GPS location. Now besides you wanting to know where your BlackBerry is, people may want to know where you are WITH your BlackBerry. SmrtGuard offers a feature called Loved-One Tracker which will allow others (by your permission) to see your location, if available. Other option include:

Audio Ping: Sends a command to your BlackBerry to sound an annoying sound. This is used to help you find your phone- if it’s somewhere in your house/place of work or possibly to freak out whomever has your BlackBerry. This can be done via dashboard or through email.

Lock Device: Remotely lock your device. Like Audio Ping, use the dashboard or email to perform this action.

Remote Listen: oooo sneaky! From the dashboard you can input a number for your missing BlackBerry to call. It’s designed to let you listen in to the surroundings of your BlackBerry. I found two issues with this, based on security issues I presume; the person who is in possession of your BlackBerry will see the outgoing call on the screen and the feature won’t activate if your device is holstered.

Self-Destruct: Minus the carnage and explosions, this feature will wipe out your personal data. This data includes call logs, data on your media card, media stored in your device memory, tasks, email/PIN messages, contacts, memos and calendar entries.

SmrtGuard organizes and lets you view the data you have backed up wirelessly. This information can be rearranged, deleted and exported to CSV or XML formats.

SmrtGuard Content Access
Access your backed up files

SmrtGuard Loved-One Tracker
Loved-One Tracker setup

SmrtConclusion

It’s always better to be safe than sorry folks. With SmrtGuard, your information will definitely be much safer. The wireless backup and restore adds some much needed convenience. Tracking of you and/or your BlackBerry, provides ease of mind. I was kind of hoping to have the ability to add/edit contacts from the web, as programs for other devices (Motorola Phone Tools, Nokia PC Suite, etc) allows for this. This subscription based application is available through the CrackBerry App Store; you can get the annual service for $44.99, the semi-annual (6 month) service for $22.99 and a monthly service for $3.99. For more information, or to buy SmrtGuard, click here.

Pros

  • Simple UI
  • Remote tracking and wiping
  • Wireless backup and restore

Cons

  • The price is reasonable, but the cheaper the better (if only RIM were to include this function natively)

Download / Purchase


29 comments

Reader comments

SmrtGuard Your Smartphone Guardian

29 Comments
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tclaer,

Since not many people have the habit of plugging their BB to their PC, SmrtGuard comes in handy for that. Our low price plan starts at $3.99 a month.

thanks for the feedback.

If your BlackBerry is lost or stolen all that sensitive data is in someone else's hands. This allows you to remote wipe it.

1jaxstate1,

While accessing your information, it is over 256-bit encrypted SSL secure connection. While it is backing up from the device, it authenticate every backup over the same 256-bit encrypted SSL secure connection.

The next version v1.95 we are pushing out will have even more robust security add on while maintaining minimal user setup. More to come :)

Thanks for your feedback.

I'm already a user, but just found out couple of tricks that I didn't know (like the hiding the colums on the web). Thanks Ryan!!!

I used to have the 3.99 plan, but end up switching to the 6 month plan b/c of the discount ON TOP of the 10% CrackBerry discount :)

Great back up to have but would really like to see the Personal Guardian work on higher OS systems on Bold.

Currently when holding down menu button quick menu screen pops up.

Thanks and well worth the money even without this feature right now.

SmrtGuard worked great for me when switching from the Storm to the Tour! Up and running in mins!
Just wish I could edit contacts online and push them to the phone though.

I am pretty good about keeping up with my phone, but I like the idea of being able to somewhat control it, if it gets out of my hands. I think that in itself is worth the fee. The other features are great too, and make the fee even more worthwhile! Keep up the good work!

I bought this software and i can say it works perfect...it is really a way to avoid problems if you lost your bb or someone steal you this...not 100 % but it helps.....

if it was a one time fee I would def purchase this!!! and I think so would most people! but i'm not interested in spending any more a month than I already due on my BB.

GIVE US A ONE TIME FEE.

Not everyone is as disciplined as you are, so this program is great for the rest of us. We thank you for your concern, but the price is a small amount for peace of mind.
P.S. The remote tracking and wipe feature are not included in a back up you do yourself!

I've been using SmrtGuard for some time and have seen it grow to include many of it's current features. I was really disappointed with the monthly price option and have expressed this before. I did however recently go with the 6-month plan to see how I like that. The problem with this app you usually don't need something like this often, but when you need it you really need it. I've found in the two times I've needed this app I was sorely disappointed because it didn't work as advertised. Those two times were when I changed devices about 2 months ago and a few weeks ago when I tried to restore my contacts. The real issue I have with this app or any app for that matter is having to change settings just to accomodate it. I have used Content Protection on my devices as long as I've been using BB's and recently had to disable the feature because SmrtGuard doesn't work properly with Content Protection. Overall, the app is okay but I'd jump ship quickly for a simple app that WORKS and has comprehensive information available on the web to help me with issues. Bells and whistles are great, but I need them to actually make noise when I need them.

If you decide this App isn't for you, be sure you delete your information BEFORE your account expires. They fail to mention that there is no way to delete your information once your account expires!

I think this is ingenius, but the price tag is a tad high especially in today's economy. This is something that I will have to pass on for now.

The service sounds good, a tad on the pricey side, but what options are there and is the server transparent to users?
Is this service only for the USA or selected countries or worldwide?

Because the data is only encrypted while it's in transit to your servers still leaves a huge security risk. Once my blackberry data lands on your servers it is not encrypted? This means anybody can view my data whether it be a nosy employee or a hacker.
What would be ideal is to allow me to encyrpt the data with AES 256 and using a strong complex password of my choosing.

Hi,
I'm on a BES at work. What would Smrtguard give me over the autobackup features of my contacts, emails, calendars, etc? Would it even be necessary?

Thanks.

I use this program on my Tour and it is awesome. I highly encourage any and all BlackBerry users to use. After you do a quick setup, the program does the rest for you. I no longer have to worry about doing a hard backup since it is done OTA on a daily basis. Peace of mind, gotta love that.

I really wanted to purchase this app, but the ongoing fees discouraged me from purchasing it.

How about a larger one time up front fee and then a smaller yearly fee? I really think people would see a greater value in that. I could see paying $10 or so a year, but not a monthly fee.

How about a larger upfront fee that includes a year or two of service?

To me, the $3.99 a month, is just another addition to my monthly phone bill, which I'm trying to reduce...

I bit the bullet and got it. So far I'm happy with the peace of mind factor. I've had a couple of hiccups but I emailed/gave feedback to SmrtGuard and they're looking my issues.

Like one of the users said above, you won't really need it, but there may be the one time you will REALLY need it.

For me, I dont have a lot of things I need to hide...but someone brought up a good point about hacking into the source itself... I really didn't think of that one.

Regardless, so far so good with me. Couple of things brought up here, but still doesn't sway me from cancelling or anything.

I like as stated before, am not diciplined in backing up my information. I actually obtained the software when it was released, just after the date.

So far, after a few bumps and trials, it HAS been a satisfying experience, for my peace of mind and wireless back up.

My only issues when testing, was the tracking feature, as it wasn't supported in IE, only Google Chrome. They later fixed that, but then when it came to giving my mother an option to 'track me' as one of my official trackers, the page didn't render at all, UNLESS I opened it in google chrome, which is useless, as she's not tech savvy, and she wouldn't know we had a second browser.

I wasn't aware that on the month to month it had to be re-registered in terms of activation.

But like many and all users - I find the fee steep for month to month, even with the 10% features etc. With all my automated banking and fees, this just seems troublesome to render it into my other cycle of bills.

I would LOVE an option of paying a yearly fee, perhaps it being the 3.99 added up with a discount, that would be a larger chunk but less of another bill tack-on.

Because of the pricing I have reconsidered the program many times, but have kept it due to the in-case factor.

Overall I am pleased with this service, the customer service if wonderful and they are polite and quick to respond (when I had an issue with activation)

I'd recommend it, if the fee works for you.