The BlackBerry Protect remote security app previewed to users last year has become available for UK consumer users for the first time in a beta version, the company has announced.

Released to the US customer base a couple of weeks ago, the free BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) app makes it possible for owners to back up, restore and remotely wipe their smartphones should they be lost.

There is also a ‘lost and found’ screen, GPS location, a convenient remote ring facility for finding BlackBerrys mislaid in a user’s house or workplace. Users interact with the service through a website.

Not long ago this sort of application would have put the BlackBerry ahead of rivals platforms but not any longer. All of the features can be found on services for Android, for instance, although these tend to be part of paid apps. BlackBerry Protect is free of charge. It can also be used to protect multiple BlackBerrys registered at the same time.

The beta app is available from the BlackBerry site using a browser or through the BlackBerry App World site as an install. It is not clear yet whether BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) users will be able to use the Protect service in the future.