Flexilis – Initial Beta Review

 

 

I received an invite to try out Flexilis late last week and I was quite curious to try it out. The premise of the product is to provide protection for your mobile device in a single application suite. It makes sense; the mobile device has become powerful and because of it's small size, I carry it every where with me. I'm more likely to carry more personal information on it then on my computer at times. In its current stage, Flexilis provides 3 services – backup, network intrusion protection and anti-virus protection. Upon installation, Flexilis recommends that you have unlimited data to fully utilize it which makes you very aware how it's best used. While I know it currently supports Windows Mobile, I believe the plan is to support Symbian 60, Android, iPhone, Java ME and Blackberry as well based on the sign-up form.

On the surface, the backup solution provided is not different then the service that Dashwire provides. It allows you to backup your application data like your contacts, sms messages, audio and video as well as your call logs. I like that I have the option to schedule the backup and choose to back it up over wi-fi instead of arbitrarily backing up the information over my data plan. Since my critical information such as my contacts is backed up to my Exchange server at home, I don't have a real need to constantly backup my information real time to Flexilis.

The network protection is a firewall that is set to protect you on both the wi-fi and 3G networks. There are limited options and the events don't provide a lot of detail. It's pretty alarming to see that I have tens of events per second. I can't help but wonder if Flexilis is blocking ports that other core apps require. That being said, everything seems to be working fine. Since I can't really control the firewall, it'd be useful for Flexilis to describe why a port is blocked and what potential threat it represents. The AntiVirus works like a regular antivirus. Can't say much about it outside of that it can be scheduled. I didn't install any virus to see if anything was picked up. Overall, the application works noiselessly in the background. I don't see any performance dips when it runs which I had expected it to. 

Where Flexilis really excels is the services it provides on the web. The dashboard provides a summary of the activity during the day. The first thing that stands out is the number of security events. It's pretty overwhelming but looking at the details it doesn't mean a whole lot.

The My Data tab provides you access to your pictures, contacts, documents, videos, sounds, sms and calls. Dashwire is much stronger here as it actually allows you to not only access the data but also interact with it. Also the SMS messages shows you the contact phone number and message but does not associate a phone number with a contact name. This makes it pretty hard to figure out who the message is from as I don't memorize the phone numbers of my friends. However, Flexilis doesn't claim to be a competitor to Dashwire – it's a backup service and it does that well. Flexilis gives you a 2GB limit which is pretty decent size for a mobile device.

Missing Device is another really innovative idea for your device – you can locate it, cause it to scream or nuke it. I tried the Locate and Scream. The Locate service put me to around 200m from my home. Given that I was in the house, I don't think the GPS would have worked and it located me using the cell towers and that was pretty accurate. The Scream function turns on a siren even if the sound on your device is turned off that will turn off only by a physical press of a button. While I don't see it being able to scare or embarass anyone, it will definitely help you locate your device. Don't know about most of you but I'm quite apt to lose my device especially with the device off. Or you have the misfortune of knowing my friends who have hidden my phone in the ceiling of the office just for kicks. One thing about the Scream is that in both tests, it crashed my phone.

When I was playing with Flexilis on my device, I was quite disappointed that I couldn't restore data from the device. I couldn't help but wonder if Flexilis intended to implement this feature later on. I was pleasantly surprised when I found the restore functionality on the web. This makes this a killer product. A few other features that I would love to see implemented here is the ability to restore from the device. Here's why – when I'm on the road, I may not always have access to a desktop browser but I will always have access to my phone. Being able to restore data on my phone makes it much more useful. Another important part of restoration for me is the ability to restore the registry and perhaps the Windows directory. The reason is that I typically install most of my critical software on my SD card and being able to restore the registry as well as the appropriate dlls means I have my device ready to go even when I'm not buy a computer. Perhaps a premium feature.

Overall, I'm really impressed with Flexilis. The features implemented are either useful now or potentially useful. I'm looking forward to see if there are any intentions to perhaps implement more features. I plan to use the nuke and restore features later on next week when I reflash the ROM again.

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