Experts are divided on the threat that viruses and malware pose to Android devices. Some say you basically have to deliberately install malware to infect your device. Others point out that "operator error" is common and that millions of users have little idea of what their phones do behind the scenes. We say that the cutting edge of Android virus detection is no place to be; we'd rather take what steps we can. Which brings us to NetQin's NQ Mobile Security suite. This free Android app works much like your home PC's antivirus solution, scanning your files and incoming data traffic for malware and other infections. Like most antivirus tools, it also analyzes your security settings and risks to your private data and makes recommendations for improving your protection. It can block spam, too. Its built-in antitheft features can monitor and lock your phone remotely and even wipe your personal data if your phone is lost or stolen. NQ Mobile Security can also help you find your lost device by pinpointing its location on a map. It can even boost your phone's performance and battery life by closing unneeded apps. While the app is free, automatic updates and some additional features require monthly subscriptions.
We started by updating NQ Mobile Security's antivirus definitions and then running a baseline scan, called a Checkup. It identified several vulnerabilities on our Android smartphone, though a definition update and deep scan revealed no actual threats. The Optimization feature reclaimed RAM by closing unnecessary apps; we could also select individual apps to close. A separate Optimization icon made it super-easy to quickly close running apps and reduce the load on our phone's RAM and battery on the fly. NQ comes with some interesting extras, such as a Vault, Network Manager, Installation File Manager, and Internet Protection tools. However, many features require paid upgrades.
NQ Mobile Security certainly does a lot, though whether it does more than similar (and completely free) Android-based antivirus and security solutions largely depends on how it meets your needs. Free alternatives such as AVG also belong on your short list of Android security apps.