November 9, 2014 / 12:50 PM / 3 years ago

Cellebrite sees sales boost from smartphone remote repair tool

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israel's Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, expects a sharp boost in sales in the next two years after it launched a diagnostic tool that can fix smartphones remotely.

Cellebrite, a subsidiary of Japan's Sun Corp, has its revenue split evenly between two businesses: a forensics system used by law enforcement that retrieves data hidden inside mobile devices and technology for mobile retailers.

"We expect the diagnostics tool to more than double revenue stream in our retail business unit within two years," Executive Vice President Amir Lehr told Reuters.

"Cellphones are becoming a more critical part of our life," he said, noting consumers are becoming more dependent on their smartphone, which in turn have become more complex.

Other companies offer solutions to remotely fix smartphones, but Lehr said Cellebrite is unique in that it is cloud based and covers call centers, end users and repair labs.

Many common problems, like batteries that drain too fast, sluggish response and poor audio or video quality, can be caused by poorly written applications or a mismatch of hardware and software.

Typically the phone must be shipped to a repair lab at a cost of $60-$180 in the United States. Often the cause is not found because the lab checks the hardware and operating system but not applications running on the phone, Lehr said.

Cellebrite's diagnostics, Lehr said, is more thorough. It puts "lab capability close to the customer at the point of sales and as an application running on the smartphone".

It has three channels of access to the phone - retail salespeople can operate the system, call centers can remotely access the phone and show users how to change settings or remove apps and in some cases the end user can self diagnose.

The company sells its mobile retail technology to over 200 wireless carriers and retailers ranging from Verizon and Vodafone to PhoneHouse Netherlands. It has begun selling its diagnostics product to Cricket in the United States, Claro in Argentina and Orange in Luxemburg, among others.

"We expect a very rapid pick up," Lehr said, noting the diagnostics systems was compatible with the company's retail hardware that is already in 90 percent of stores selling phones in the United States and about 50 percent in Europe.

Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Jeffrey Heller

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