BlackBerry Protect protects (you guessed it) your BlackBerry

You might expect a product with as much enterprise street cred as BlackBerry to offer the best lineup of options for dealing with a lost or stolen phone, but not quite -- devices in a controlled BES environment can be wiped from afar, but for non-enterprise consumers, the options are a little more limited. That's where RIM's new BlackBerry Protect software comes into play, combining a host of services into one product; on top of being able to remotely message, lock, and wipe a misplaced phone, you can locate it on a map and take regularly-scheduled wireless backups that make replacing the handset (if it comes to that) as painless as possible. It's going into an invite-only beta period later this week, after which it'll move to a wider-scale public beta "later this year" at no charge. Considering that MobileMe's similarly-styled features do less than this for $100 annually, the word "free" has an especially sweet ring to it, doesn't it?