Ina Fried

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Apps to Improve Personal Safety, Device Security Among Mobile Launches at Demo

Not surprisingly, mobile technology is taking center stage today as the Demo conference kicks off in Palm Springs, Calif.

One of the more intriguing launches is a product called Divide from Enterproid that aims to separate Android devices into two segments–one filled with information and business apps managed by an employer and the other half free to house a customer’s personal information. Initially Divide will run only on Android models, though Enterproid also wants to bring the product to Apple iOS and Windows Phone 7 devices.

“We’ve witnessed a sea change in mobile technology in recent years, and yet enterprise mobility has lagged behind, as companies have been forced to make difficult choices between the security and control of older mobile platforms and the power and functionality of newer platforms like Android and iOS,” Enterproid CEO Andrew Toy said in a statement.

The business side of a Divide device has IT-friendly features like security, access control and enterprise email, messaging and browsing, while the personal side is open, allowing full access to apps and browsing. Although users can switch between the two profiles with the touch of a button, no data is allowed to move from one side to the other, ensuring the business side can’t be compromised, Enterproid said.

Research In Motion said earlier this year that it plans to offer BlackBerry Balance, a similar feature, on upcoming BlackBerry devices.

Another company presenting at Demo, Guardly, is also looking at how mobile can help with security. However, in its case, the security in question is the physical safety of its owner. The app allows people to simultaneously contact both emergency services and neighbors or relatives at the touch of a button.

Toronto-based Guardly said it hopes to have an iOS version available in Apple’s App Store by next month, with BlackBerry and Android versions planned later.

“Guardly is the first mobile personal safety service to give subscribers access to two safety networks at the same time,” said Guardly CEO Josh Sookman said in a statement “Our vision is to complement the existing 9-1-1 infrastructure and ensure that Guardly users are reached as soon as possible by their personal safety network and authorities in the event of an emergency.”

Both a free and premium service will be offered, Guardly said.

Other mobile launches include an updated version of the News360 app with iPad support, more news sources and greater integration with social networks as well as Orange’s On VoiceFeed, an improved iPhone voice mail app that Mobilized wrote about on Sunday.

EcoATM took the stage earlier today to talk about its kiosk for buying back used electronics, such as cell phones. The company noted that 500 million electronic devices are sold in the U.S., with only a small percentage being recycled, resulting in three million tons of e-waste going to landfills each month.

The company’s kiosk (see photo above) can identify a device, check how well it is working, value the device and offer the cash to consumers. A working iPhone 4, for example, could generate as much as $300. Regardless of how much is paid, EcoATM also promises to wipe customer information from the device. CoinStar is among the company’s backers.

Update, 10:50 a.m. PT: Just moments ago on the Demo stage, Enterproid was awarded the $150,000 Qprize from Qualcomm, as evidenced by the very non-mobile payment below.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik