An upcoming Android feature, if implemented, will provide an option for owners of lost or stolen smartphones to permanently disable (brick) their devices.
Currently, Google offers some rather limited security options that will only allow you to lock or wipe a stolen device. This is obviously not a perfect solution since after all the bad guys will still be able to resell a stolen smartphone.
New lines in the Android Open Source Project points to Google adding an extra later of security. Upcoming versions of Android will come with a kill switch of some sort.
The Kill switch will provide an options for users to securely erase and brick stolen smartphones. This will render the smartphone useless and thus cannot be resold.
The addition of a Kill switch in iPhones led to a dramatic drop in the number of smartphone theft in a number of cities. Therefore, it will be interesting to see the effect that the Android kill switch will have if Google chooses to make a feature a default.