A handset may be valuable, but it's easily replaced. The data on it, however, is often much more important. Banking passwords, corporate documents and VPN access are better off kept secure.
All of the major smartphone platforms have some kind of remote erase capability. Here's a rundown of what's out there for each platform.
Apple's $99-per-year MobileMe lets users perform a remote wipe on a lost or stolen iPhone. It's found under Account -> Find My iPhone -> Remote Wipe. It can also display a message on the phone's screen.
All Palm Pre owners set up a Palm Profile when first activating their new devices. The Palm Profile lets users remotely erase a lost or stolen handset. To begin, head to palm.com/palmprofile, enter your profile e-mail address and password, and click Erase Device.
Any BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) handset can be erased remotely via the Erase Data and Disable Handheld IT administration command over the wireless network. IT admins can also specify if the handset should revert to factory default settings or retain the IT policy it had before.
SMobile Anti-Theft for Android is a $19.95 app that features GPS locate and remote wipe functions for the T-Mobile G1, T-Mobile myTouch 3G, or any other Android-powered smartphone.
Microsoft's new My Phone Windows Mobile service, currently in beta, lets users locate lost handhelds via GPS and erase their data remotely. Microsoft Exchange Server can handle the same task for enterprise devices, along with Absolute Software's Computrace Mobile, which can manage enterprise devices running Windows Mobile or BlackBerry and issue remote wipe commands.