NetQin, China's market leader in mobile security, has brought their anti-virus application to Android. NetQin anti-virus offers real-time monitoring, instant scanning, contacts backup and restoration, and phone theft and loss protection. NetQin anti-virus uses what they call Cloud Scan:
"cloud and client twin-engine scanning, which is faster and more accurate at identifying and resolving threats from viruses and malicious programs. Key benefits include fast response to the latest security threats and comprehensive protection from Trojans, malware, and virus-infected plug-ins."
As new threats are found, the cloud scan engine is updated to deal with them. In real-world usage, the app seems to use little resources, and there is no noticeable slowdown with it running in the background.
Maybe you'll never have need for an Android malware scanner, but threats do exists in the wild. It's a by-product of being "open" to the installation of unapproved software. Applications like NetQin anti-virus fill that need, and it looks like this one will do very nicely. If you want to give it a try, it's free in the Market, and is available in a version for Android 1.5 and Android 1.6, as well as a version for Android 2.x. The full press release is after the jump.