Strategies for finding a lost cell phone often involve finding someone to continuously call the device in hopes a kind soul will answer. But such efforts also drain the phone's battery life, and thus, one's chances of recovering it.
Before a phone dies, the app automatically sends out a signal flare from its last location. According to CNET, the user is then notified on their Lookout account of where the phone took its last breath.
Now, that's not to say the phone won't continue to travel with whoever has it once it's dead, but it's better than knowing nothing about its whereabouts.
Several apps do already help find lost phones with GPS tracking systems, but most services require the phone be turned on to function.
Find My iPhone, for example, can set off an alarm on an iPhone when it's lost so that someone -- or the user, if the phone is just lost in the couch cushions -- might hear it. If that doesn't work, there's a mapping function that can show users where their phone is.
When New York Times technology writer David Pogue lost his phone this past summer on an Amtrak train, he started a Twitter campaign to find it. However, the Find My iPhone service initially alerted him that the phone was offline and thus, not trackable. Eventually, Pogue's phone was turned on at a house in Maryland and was recovered.
Still, the situation illustrates why the new feature from Lookout could prove to be a popular one: Even if one's phone is well on its way to dying by the time one realizes it's gone, there's at least some history available about where it's been in the meantime.
And apparently, a lost phone and low battery life often go hand in hand: According to Lookout's press release, 30 percent of people who reported losing a phone said that a dying battery contributed to their inability to find it.
Though Lookout's new Signal Flare feature is currently only available on Androids, Mashable reports the company may be releasing something similar for iOS devices soon.