BlackBerry ‘Shield’ Renamed ‘Protect’—More Details

Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry Protect (formerly Shield) service is nearing launch and more details have come to light. For those who are unfamiliar with the free and soon-to-be released service, BlackBerry Protect is a software-based service that keeps your BlackBerry’s data safe and secure even if the device is lost or stolen. The service is going into closed beta this week, but an open beta through BlackBerry App World is expected in the coming months.

So exactly what does BlackBerry Protect offer? Quite a bit. According to RIM’s blog, it “allows you the ability to wirelessly backup, restore and locate your BlackBerry® smartphone.” If your phone is lost or stolen, it also provides the ability to remotely wipe or lock your BlackBerry, see where your BlackBerry is on a map via the desktop companion software, or show a custom screen to ask for your phone back from whoever found it.

I did a piece on what was known about BlackBerry Protect last month when it was still known as BlackBerry shield here and the latest update about what it will be able to do is impressive. Perhaps the greatest feature included is the ability to do over the air backups and restores through Wi-Fi. This feature is similar to Apple’s MobileMe and unlike Apple’s service, is completely free.

However, no word yet on if the service will allow you to set your BlackBerry to automatically wipe itself if a code is not entered at set time intervals like some high-security laptops allow. If you truly are paranoid about your data being stolen then you know that there is little you can do if a thief decides to simply place your phone in an aluminum foil bag to prevent it from connecting to any network and thus your wipe commands while they work on hacking into it. While this might seem a little off the deep end, it certainly is possible to pull off.

Interested in what BlackBerry protect offers for free?

Think that you will use the service once it rolls out for everyone?

Let us know what you think and be sure to check out a full walkthrough of how everything works at RIM’s blog.

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