The VPM Blog

The Power in Your Pocket

Posted by admin on Jun 4, 2012 4:22:52 PM

Remember when the only thing you could do with your cell phone was dial a number and talk to someone? Well, those days are over as the name “cell” phone is turning to “smart” phone - and believe me, your smartphone is unbelievably smart. As the market shifts toward a smartphone-only environment, with more than 50% of mobile users buying a smartphone, apps have become more central in this technology shift.

In May, Nielsen released data showing how people are using apps to personalize their communication patterns and to manage their lives with the flick of a mobile screen. In just a single year, the average number of apps per smartphone has grown 28%, from 32 apps per device to 41.

Personally, I didn't realize how powerful my phone was until I applied a jailbreak and tested its limits. Jail-breaking is the process of removing limitations imposed by Apple on devices running the iOS operating system through the use of custom kernels (Note: the jail-breaking process also removes any warranties on your phone and, if you don't know what you are doing, you can get yourself into a bit of a pickle. Fair warning.)

I started tweaking my iPhone with new apps. One of my favorite third-party applications is Cylay. The security application fights theft, tracks your device, protects personal data and remotely controls the iPhone from a computer or another mobile device.

I downloaded the free one month trial of Cylay and left it on my iPhone, forgetting about it until the inevitable happened: my iPhone was stolen. As soon as I realized my iPhone was gone, I jumped on my friend's computer and logged into my Cylay account.

The trial was over, but since it was still on my iPhone I bought a one year subscription for $19.99. Then using Cylay, I tracked my iPhone to a house in a county about 45 minutes away. I Google'd the address and got a street view picture of the house, a phone number and details on the people living in the house.

I was able to send a message saying, “I have tracked my iPhone to your house and I know who you are Brandon. Please call 555-555-5555,” I remotely snapped a picture of a ceiling fan in the thief's home and continued tracking my iPhone. I never did get that phone back... but that's another story involving law enforcement agencies.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I left my iPhone at a local restaurant. When I realized it was missing, I was able to track the iPhone back to the restaurant, disable the device and set off a constant alarm that could not be turned off without Cylay.

In this case, a friend had picked up my iPhone and quickly called to tell me he had it and to turn off the alarm because people were looking at him funny.

Cylay is just one application of many that really stretches the abilities of your phone. So the next time someone calls your “smart” phone a “cell” phone, you can correct them by saying “my smart phone is probably smarter than you.”

 

Article by: Ashley McElduff, Summer 2012 Imagineer || ashley.vpm@gmail.com

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