Orange to install Lookout security software on Android devices

The rollout will start in France, Slovakia, Spain, and the UK

Mobile network operator Orange will install Lookout's Mobile Security application on some of the Android-based tablets and smartphones it distributes starting in 2013, aiming to protect millions of subscribers in the first year alone.

Starting in France, Slovakia, Spain, and the U.K., Orange will install Lookout's software on select new Android devices from early 2013, with more markets and phones to come throughout the year, the France Télécom Orange said on Tuesday.

Subscribers to Orange's UK joint venture EE, or to its partner T-Mobile, will also be able to buy a smartphone or tablet with the software already installed.

The operator has in fact already jumped the gun by installing Lookout on Sony Xperia Ts that it sells. Other smartphones from Sony, as well as HTC and Samsung Electronics, will also get the software, but Orange isn't yet saying which models.

Orange will insall the free version of Lookout's software, which scans apps, files and attachments in the hunt for the growing number of spyware and malware targeting Android devices. It analyzes phone numbers users might click to dial from a mobile website, as well.

To reduce the load on the smartphone, the analysis is done in the cloud, according to Alex Abey, vice president of business development at Lookut. Users wouldn't accept the battery load resulting from doing it on the phone, he said.

Lookout also helps users find lost or stolen devices and back up data. Its Signal Flare feature allows users to locate a lost phone even after the battery has died.

Orange is planning to include the premium version of the software in some bundles, said Xavier Perret, vice president of strategic partnerships at Orange. It usually costs US$2.99 per month and scans every site users visit and links they click on in real-time to protect against the latest online threats, according to Lookout's website.

Orange's goal is to help differentiate its smartphones from the competition, while at the same time making it easier for users to protect their devices, according to Perret.

Both the free and the premium version can already be downloaded from Google's Play store.

In addition to using Lookout' software, Orange is also making a strategic investment in the security company through the Orange & Publicis strategic venture capital initiative with Iris Capital.

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