The feature gives owners the option of completely wiping the phone and is predicted to lead to a drastic reduction in smartphone theft
Google and Microsoft are set to include ‘kill switches’ in their operating systems for mobile phones.
The feature gives owners the option of ‘killing’ a handset – rendering it useless – if stolen.
Apple introduced a similar Activation Lock feature on iPhones running iOS 7 in September last year, leading to a 24% drop in iPhone thefts over a six-month period.
Thefts of other mobile devices increased during the same period.
Google spokesman Christopher Katsaros said that the next version of the Android operating system will include “a factory reset protection solution to help deter smartphone theft”.
When Android and the Windows operating systems incorporate the feature, the vast majority of smartphones will be less desirable to thieves.
Authorities have long urged technology firms to take such steps in a bid to crack down on the huge problem of smartphone theft.
According to a report by US authorities, one in three Europeans had a mobile device stolen or lost in 2013 while the number thieved in the States doubled to 3.1million in that year.
“An activated kill switch converts an easy-to-sell, high-value multimedia device into a jumble of plastic and glass, drastically reducing its street value,” the report by New York Attorney General said.
“With the majority of phones still without a kill switch, smartphone-related thefts and violence remain a tragic reality.
“Criminals now target devices not likely to be equipped with a kill switch, increasing the importance of immediately implementing the life-saving technology across all manufacturers.”