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Mobile security software maker Lookout announced a smart-sounding new feature for its Android app today that might help you recover a stolen smartphone or tablet: Once someone tries and fails three times to unlock your password-protected gadget, Lookout Mobile Security will stealthily take and e-mail you a photo of that person and their location.

Called Lock Cam, the feature will be made available to current Lookout users during the next week, Lookout said in a blog post Wednesday. Those who use the paid version of Lookout can already access it, the company says.

I’m skeptical that this will help recover many gadgets, but I am hopeful that some pet owners using the Lock Cam feature will soon be getting e-mails containing photos of their dogs and cats (or drunken shots of themselves).

Lookout also added another feature to the paid version of its app–in addition to being able to remotely lock down your phone so others can’t use it, users can now append a message of up to 300 characters to your phone’s screen (such as, “Help, return me to my owner!”). Lookout already offers ways to track a missing phone even if its battery is dead (see “How to Track Your Smartphone’s Final Moments”).

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