Have You Backed Up Your Mobile Phone Lately?
By Mike Masnick, Tue Jul 13 22:30:00 GMT 2004

A new study shows that many people still use their phones as their de facto contact managers. For mobile phone owners who can't seem to remember where they left their phone, that's a problem.

In the computer world, everyone knows that backups are essential. Not everyone backs up their data religiously, but anyone who's lost a hard drive (or three) is a quick convert. Even those who have been lucky so far usually know that they should have a backup solution in place. There are hundreds of products catering to individuals and companies who need to backup their computer data, from spare hard drives with backup software to backup servers to remote backup services.

In the mobile phone world, however, it's a different story. Many people use their phones as a de facto address book, but they don't have much of a backup. Usually, people have some sort of paper or software addressbook somewhere as well, but it's never quite as up-to-date as the always convenient mobile phone. The problem, of course, is that most people don't backup or sync their mobile phone data -- and many people lose their mobile phones.

That combination is deadly, according to a new study from FusionOne (a company that is clearly trying to sell their own phone backup and sync technology with this study). The study found that nearly half of all users have lost their mobile phone at some point, with most never getting them back. Due to this, there's an awful lot of lost contact data stored in missing phones. Especially troublesome to some people were potential dates or business partners whose contact information was forever lost when their phone remained behind in the taxicab or was left on a table somewhere.

The study also notes the emotional impact of all of this loss. Many people said it was much worse than going to the dentist to have a cavity filled, and a few even claimed it was more damaging than losing your wallet or keys (though, you may question the priorities for those individuals). Still, with all of this being due to loss, you have to wonder if a better business isn't in backing up your mobile phone data, but in helping people find lost mobile phones? As for backing up your data, this seems increasingly like a function that should come directly with the handset itself. Already, many newer (higher end) GSM phones come with this capability, and devices like the Danger Hiptop automatically sync any new data with a web server in real-time. However, as phone features continue to expand, and they offer bluetooth and other connections directly to computers, this sort of problem should become less troublesome. Then, we can really concentrate on finding all those lost phones.