AndroidGood and EVO

Sprint Guardian offers pricy solution to freely fixable problems

Spritn Connection masthead - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereThe latest Sprint Connection is advertising a product it is calling Sprint Guardian, which is the Family Mobile Essentials and Mobile Security applications bundled together. The Guardian bundle is aimed at preventing your kids from texting and driving, using their phones at schools, and getting viruses either from malicious Android apps or strangers, though Lookout Mobile Security and text message monitoring.

The features as advertised are the Sprint Family Locator, the Sprint Mobile Controls, Sprint Drive First, and Lookout Mobile Security.

Texting and Driving

I’ll start my editorial rant portion with this: I have no problem with a company wanting to make a buck or two for a product, but Sprint is advertising your child’s and your phone’s safety for this $179.76USD a year bundle.

If Sprint is so concerned about the safety of you and your children while driving, I’d say that $2.00USD a month Drive First service is something they ought to give away, especially considering there are many great free alternatives that work forever, and several pay apps that are less than the Sprint Drive First monthly fee for lifetime use.

GPS Location

Next up is the Sprint Family Locator, which allows you to set up warnings for when your child doesn’t get to school on time or your kid is not at home at the expected time.

The service allows you to see your child’s last GPS/tower location in real time, but can be easily disabled by removing the battery. Effectiveness is also significantly diminished by disabling the GPS, or disabled by switching into airplane mode and using WiFi.

Some alternatives to this are Google Latitude that comes with Maps and will update every little bit, or Where’s My Droid. There are other free services that can do this, too; they do not, however, warn you when your child doesn’t show up on time.

Mobile Controls

Sprint Mobile Controls is a $4.99 a month service which allows you to read any text messages, set hours of texting operation, and otherwise control everything that you can with the stock messaging application.

It allows you to remotely lock your child’s phone from texting and force them into the real world, not text during class, but oddly not stop them from texting while driving.

It also allows you to see who your kids have been calling and texting and what apps have been downloaded along with allowing you to block apps from running. It allows for emergency 911 calls and texting home regardless of lock state.

If you want to see who your child is calling, you can visit Sprint’s mobile website, log in and look at your child’s phone records for free. You can view their application install history via their Google Play account for free, and you can generally view their text messages simply by taking the phone from them and looking at it.

While it is possible for them to delete a text message and it not be visible in the stock messaging application, or for them to install an alternative encrypted-text application, or Google Voice and use data for texts, at this point you’re going to be dealing with someone who’s actively working against you.

Disabling stock messaging and using Google Voice allows for web-based viewing of any conversation they’ve had via text. You can also real-time monitor incoming and outgoing texts on your phone or web browser if you want to snoop that closely.

Lookout Mobile Security and Antivirus

Have you ever looked at your virus-ridden Android phone and thought there needed to be an antivirus solution to prevent these mass infections? Neither have I. That’s because there have been no mass infections and Google’s Bouncer does a pretty decent job for free doing what Lookout does for $5 a month. Oh, also because the underlying nature of the Android Sandbox / iOS apps sort of defeat most viral methods of attack, but we’ll skip that.

Lookout Security & Antivirus scans for viruses and malicious content, allows you to back up your data and apps, and can locate your phone in case you’ve lost it.

Now, as for antivirus, I mentioned there’s really no need. You can disagree with me if you want, but first you have to get it by Google’s Bouncer, then you have to specifically break the operating system to get root-level access, and then you have to implant your code. It just doesn’t happen. So let’s say AV is not needed.

As for backing up your contacts and data – last I checked, most Android operating systems these days store their contact information in Google. You can verify with your linked Gmail account by opening up Gmail,clicking the Gmail select option, and choosing Contacts.

Picture can be automatically backed up using multiple free products like Dropbox or Google Plus. As for your other application data, there’s always MyBackup which is free for 30 days.

While your application data may not be cloud backed up, how important is that Angry Birds save game data to you?

Conclusion

Sprint’s Guardian package has many options that may be useful to families, but coming in at close to $200 a year across four different applications, there are less expensive, and more importantly better, ways to accomplish the same thing in my opinion.

The Family Safety Essentials has a 15-day free trial after which you’ll be charged $9.99 per month.

[Sprint Connection]
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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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23 thoughts on “Sprint Guardian offers pricy solution to freely fixable problems

  • Avatar of Everett

    does anyone use these services?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Chrislvb

    I use lookout mobile security’s free service. It has a/v, backup, and phone locator on the free version. I know that with android a/v programs are not really needed, but I like to take the better safe than sorry approach. Plus, the phone locator has a function that if you lose your phone there is a very loud siren you can remotely turn on to find your phone or annoy anyone who may have stolen it.

    Reply
  • Avatar of boxeador

    I like the part where Paul goes into explaining how children can go around the family locator by removing the battery, airplane mode, etc. I just hope my children won’t read this thread. Gee thanks a lot Paul… J/k…I’m sure kids this days are on top of going around obstacles in technology. Lol

    Reply
    • Avatar of Paul E King

      well, I didn’t explain how they can enable mock locations so that their phone reports they’re at home, or convince the phone they’re not moving so they can text and drive.

      Almost all of the Sprint package can be circumvented with a Google search… I’ll skip mentioning how to uninstall all of the stuff without permissions though.

      If your kid is hell bent on technologically working against you, none of the Sprint stuff above is going to stop them.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Barry Keller

    I’ve used the free Lookout app for backup and phone locator. My kid is grown up so most of this does no interest me, but might be usefull for others.

    Reply
  • Avatar of etiyi

    lol Sprint fails. But you know there are people out there paying for this ish right? Just like their voicemail to text program. Google voice anyone?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Chris Mann

    A complete waste of Sprint’s time to even put this together. With all the talk about texting and driving these days they should include this for free on all family cell plans if the customer indicates they have a teenager on the plan.

    Reply
  • I use the free ones why would I pay $200 for this.It looks like a cash grab to me!

    Reply
  • Avatar of jmagnt7

    Well Paul thanks for the info. I believe this Site is dedicated to the evo product line and of course Sprint is the carrier who sells them. I do understand how alot of folks may not use these features, but it’s nice to have as much info regarding ANY EVO/Sprint changes, new features and or updates to our service provider and handset. Weather its “pointless” or not. I would assume this is a feature of all smart phones on the Sprint network so maybe passing the info along isn’t that bad either.
    Thanks again

    Reply
  • Avatar of jmagnt7

    Oh yeah, phone locators are a cool concept but how long does your battery last anyhow?? Unless it’s “stolen” off the charger once completely charged I’m guessing about six hrs @ best. Take the battery out? (i know new evo lte battery is non removable) but again after 24-48 hrs of being gone wouldn’t most of us already have made a insurance claim or activated a replacement? I get the idea and think it’s cool technology but I would like to hear of it being used and successful retrieving of a device. I may be completely wrong but I just really haven’t heard of anyone actually doing it. I’d like to hear from someone that has.. Just for the sake of a cool story

    Reply
    • Avatar of Paul E King

      Used a phone locator once at hour 11 of a phone missing. Phone had enough juice to tell me where it was but unfortunately it was on silent, wasn’t vibrating.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Mark

    It’s called, The “I don’t want to be a responsible parent and control my kid” package.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Paul E King

      On some of it I agree. I think they’ve engineered a faulty software solution to a problem that can be solved via taking the kid’s phone and looking at it or simply talking to them.

      Reply
  • Avatar of jmagnt7

    Nice did you end up finding the phone Paul?

    Reply
    • Avatar of Paul E King

      yeah, I managed to narrow it down to that it was in my front yard somewhere. It was my wife’s EVO 4G and it had managed to slide in between the console and the seat.

      Having a black side, not ringing and not vibrating, it was pretty much invisible. Knowing it was within 10 feet of the car made us look extremely closely though and we got it.

      Reply
      • Avatar of jmagnt7

        Well that’s awesome and a great example of how it may work in ones favor. I guess you could understand my concern if that was not the case of being so close to the house in a less “controlled” environment. Either way that’s exactly the example I was looking for. (practical use for the technology) for one of those “now where the heck did I put that thing down at last” :-P

        Reply
  • Avatar of Scott

    $200 a year? What is Sprint thinking? Paul I think that your are correct in that if Sprint is that worried about our families safety they would make it more cost friendly. This looks like a way for Sprint to boost their image and the bottom line.

    Reply
  • Sprint should offer the texting control app for free instead of charging people for something that can save peoples lives.

    Reply
  • Avatar of dubdrop

    The price is a joke. But I do like sprint.

    Reply
  • Avatar of overclock

    Sprint isn’t worried about your family as much as their bottom line. Being the (supposed) cheapest carrier they have to make extra where they can. And for a single mom with a couple of kids this package might appeal to them. But for any readers of Pocketables, not so much.

    But more than this idiotic package from Sprint is parenting. My mom (a single mom) let me do so much when I was a kid. We had a great relationship and still do. One time I asked my mom why she let me go to the mall or ride my bike all over creation and she said she trusted me and the moment I betrayed that trust it was all over. I never wanted to lose that trust. But I guess today is different and now we need apps to replace trust.

    Reply
  • Way too expensive. I’m sure some people will go for it though.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Abraham

      Of course they will, because they get sold the idea before they even bother to check for other options.
      Oh well, that is marketing after all.

      Reply
  • Avatar of mirosuki

    Yeah I wouldn’t pay monthly for all of this of I can get this free with lookout and pay a over time fee with cerberus. I can even get tasker to I some of this but I guess is not as Hacker proof as the first two alternatives I threw out there

    Reply

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