Did you know that in the US in 2011, on average, a mobile phone was lost every 3.5 seconds? More than 9 million people went through that gut-wrenching experience of realizing they left their phone in a cab, at a bar (including one iPhone 4 prototype), on the plane, or at an ex-girlfriend’s house…the list goes on and on. Mobile security company Lookout Mobile crunched the numbers and projected that in 2012, the value of lost phones will total an astonishing $30 billion.
No wonder those mobile carriers try to sell you on the idea of phone insurance (which, take it from me, will in fact expire if you have to replace your phone twice in a year). According to Lookout Mobile, which got its data from an extensive session of data mining from 15 million mobile customers, the most common city for lost phones was Philadelphia. It was followed by Seattle, Oakland, Long Beach, California and Newark, New Jersey. In a recent, similar study from Symantec, it was discovered that only about 50% of people who find a lost phone attempt to contact the owner. 96% attempt to use the phone.
So, what is Lookout Mobile’s angle on all this? The security firm estimates that the actual hardware only added up to $2.5 billion in losses last year, but closer to $30 billion is attributed to lost data. Lookout obviously wants to peddle its mobile data security suite, but it has a point that things like potentially sensitive information getting leaked can be much more damaging than losing a $300 phone. So, just keep that in mind.