Good news for all you prepared individuals out there who are subscribed to Sprints TEP (Total Equipment Protection) plan: You now have access to a new app that adds a whole new level of useful to protecting your device through Asurion, the third party company that handles the insurance rigmarole for Sprint (and pretty much every other U.S. carrier, but they don't get an app).
The Sprint Total Equipment Protection App essentially mirrors the functionality of services like Lookout Mobile Security (but without the antivirus part): It can be used for locating your phone via GPS, helping to find it by sounding an alarm (even when on silent mode), backing up your contacts, remotely locking your device with a pin code, and remotely wiping the contacts. There is a lot of cool stuff here, so let's take a closer look.
Asurion/Sprint just rolled this whole thing out a little while ago and are currently in the process of sending text messages with the download information to TEP subscribers both new and old. I, and I'd imagine most people, haven't gotten that text message yet. I'm impatient, so I took it upon myself to go to TotalEquipmentProtection.com. When you arrive there, this is what you'll see:
I'm not sure what that chick in the bottom-left is doing, but she's attractive enough for me to ignore the awkwardness. You'll notice on that blue bar the "Get Started" option. That sounds like a good place to start. Here we will get the instructions to download the mobile part, which is where most of the setup is done.
This is about as straight-forward as it gets: Android or Blackberry? What's your phone number? If you can answer those two questions, you're done. It will send you a link to download the APK. You can also fire up the Android Market and search for "Total Equipment Protection App" or, for the lazier of us (myself included) click this market link. However you choose to do it, install the app on your phone. Now, open it. Well done.
Here we have the first screen you'll see, where it loads up all the...insurance(?), then takes you to the terms. Now, on this third screenshot is the "returning user" setup. I will not bother showing you this because it won't be what you will see. I made the mistake of setting all this up when I first found out about the program and I didn't take screen shots. Sorry, guys. Basically, they'll need your email address and have you make up a PIN. Once you do that, you'll be magically whisked away to the main menu screen:
For the most part, all you're really able to do here is sync your contacts and adjust some minor settings. The first contact sync will automatically initiate, then you can adjust the settings to your liking.
That's pretty self explanatory. The magic REALLY happens when you log into Totalequipmentprotection.com.
Here it is - home sweet home. As you can see, there is a handy tool bar up top to do everything you want to do . This is all super easy and almost impossible to mess up, so I'm going to finish all the talking here and just show you what happens when you hit these buttons on both the browser and your phone.
Here's the "lock phone" option:
The "Sound Alarm" option:
Disclaimer:The sound of this alarm is mind-blowingly annoying
The location option is, obviously, going to show up on the map but, for personal reasons, I'm not going to show you where my house is.
All in all, this is a really slick suite of features in a very well-made and reliable application. Asurion did a bang-up job. The location grabbing has been finicky for me a couple of times, but that may be because I've been flashing ROMs like a demon lately. I must say, I've never been this pleased and impressed by an Android app (or any mobile phone application, for that matter) made by a carrier. I recommend you install it if you have TEP because, for the most part, you just install and ignore it. It just sits there, quietly protecting your precious cellphone from harm.
Once again, this is free for all Sprint TEP subscribers new and old. It verifies your phone number, so they'll know if you're trying to sneak in. You can grab it at Asurion's Total Equipment Protection Page or the Android Market, and I suggest you do. If you're lazy, though, you can just wait for that text message from Sprint to get the download link. Hopefully more carriers and companies that work with carriers will take a page from Asurion's book and start doing more cool stuff like this.