On Friday, Google dropped a small bomb on Android users everywhere by introducing the Android Device Manager service. It's been a part of Google Apps for your Domain's device administration interface for quite some time now, though, so the product itself isn't new - it's just being newly introduced to regular ol' consumers like you and me.
What's it do? It shows you where your phone is, lets you make it ring, and lets you wipe it. That's really it. You'll manage it through Google Play on the web, and there will be an Android app, too. ADM will be integrated with Google Play Services, and at this point, it's not clear how robust the protection's survivability will be in the event of theft. Will a simple device wipe remove the account association? That seems to be the consensus, given how the feature works for Google Apps customers.
More powerful applications, like Cerberus, can be set up to survive device wipes, take pictures of would-be thieves, and do other neat stuff. It's pretty clear that ADM isn't really meant to replace such apps, if features like those are the ones you really claim to need. But for most people? ADM does the two things they probably want: rings / locates their phone if they can't find it somewhere, and for businesses / the privacy-conscious, allows a remote wipe.
Personally, it's enough for me. I've never used an anti-theft app for my Android devices, but if my phone were stolen, being able to quickly initiate a remote wipe would give me peace of mind. I'd generally have little / no hope of getting it back in such a scenario, anyway. It's my view that if you're so concerned about your phone or information being stolen, you should probably insure it with a service like Asurion, encrypt it, and put up a pin lock. A savvy thief who encounters a secure phone is going to immediately pull the SIM, wipe the device, and sell it before the ESN is flagged. Your personal information is valuable, but selling a $600 smartphone is a quicker, easier, and safer payday. Granted, not all thieves are savvy (see: every LoJack webcam mugshot).
So, what about you - is ADM's find-and-wipe functionality enough to make you get rid of your current anti-theft app (or, if you don't have one, keep on not using one), or do you demand more protection? Vote in the poll, and explain in the comments.