Help Lost Gadgets Find Their Way Home, Part 2

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Yesterday I wrote about SendMeHome, the free service that uses specially coded labels to help honest people return lost devices to their rightful owners.

If you own a smartphone and you'd rather not ruin its aesthetics with a pasted-on label, there's another way to aid its recovery: BlueRetriever, a new lost-gadget service that relies on wallpaper.

Yes, wallpaper. After signing up for the service and registering your device (BlueRetriever currently supports the iPhone, iPod Touch, Google G1, Palm Pre, and various BlackBerry models), you get a specially coded wallpaper that looks like this:

When someone finds your device and turns it on, that should be the first thing they see. Then they head to the BlueRetriever site, enter your code, and make contact so you can arrange for your phone's return.

The reward is up to you: $10, $25, $50, or even $100. This is given to the finder in the form of an e-gift card for a selected store. (If you're strapped for cash or think honesty is its own reward, you can choose "karma" instead.)

Other than that, BlueRetriever costs absolutely nothing. I find its Web interface way easier to use than SendMeHome's, and I like the all-digital, label-free approach.

However, what if your device has a dead battery? Then you're outta luck. For that reason alone, I think you're better off with a solution like SendMeHome. Of course, there's no law that says you can't use both!

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