Device maker Motorola is in accessory mode, adding more layers of anticipation for the upcoming Moto X. Now Motorola is suggesting one more reason to feel good about Moto X with its announcement of Motorola Skip, a small wearable clip to unlock your new phone.
The idea is simple and convenient enough. Using Skip, a Moto X owner can securely unlock his phones with a tap instead of pecking out a passcode or swiping.
Only Skip and Skip dots that have been paired with your phone will unlock it, and you can easily unpair them if you lose or replace your Skip.
The device is sized as a wearable, and you clip it onto a belt loop, sleeve, or shirt hem, for example. As to color scheme, Motorola will start out with gadgets that are gray with black accent, but more colors will be available later on.
Above the Market Din
Motorola posted the announcement Friday on its official blog, which began: "Hello Skip. Goodbye PIN."
Actually, that "Goodbye Pin" message rules at Motorola. Consumers are growing deaf and bleary-eyed as smartphone vendors yell over each others' heads to flaunt competing numbers about weight, pixels and memory. Motorola aims to rise above the din with smartphone re-thinks. Number one, it is championing security but declaring war on the tedium of present-day authentication.
"Our smartphones are central to our digital lives . . . the keys to our friends, our finances, and a lot of our personal information," Motorola wrote in its blog post. "Security is increasingly important, but it shouldn't be irritating."
Motorola reckons the typical person unlocks a smartphone 39 times a day and close to 100 times a day for power users. "At 2.3 seconds each time the phone is unlocked, it adds up to a lot of time spent entering 4-digit PINs or patterns," according to the blog post. "Because it's cumbersome and slow, many people never bother with authentication at all, or they use fast but easily-guessed PINs like '0000.'"
High Time for New Ideas
The comment is in lockstep with the remarks made at the All Things Digital's D11 conference earlier this year, when Motorola executives took to the stage to show next-gen tattoos as examples of what innovation can accomplish in authentication.
Regina Dugan, a former director at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, who now leads Motorola's Advanced Technology and Projects group, said at the event that it was high time to think up better, less irritating, authentication methods. "After 40 years of advances in computation, we're still authenticating basically the same way we did years ago," she said at that time.
Friday's blog post similarly commented on futuristic authentication methods that Motorola was working on. "Today we're launching Motorola Skip for Moto X, which is the first step on the path."
Included with the Skip device will be three Skip dots, stickers you can place around your home or office desk as "trusted zones," that will also unlock the Moto X if you tap it to the dot.
Setting a Dot Alarm
Motorola's example offers a bedtime scenario where you place your phone on the side of the bed telling the dot, "OK, Google Now, set alarm for 7 a.m."
Friday's announcement did not mention the technology underlying Skip but it is assumed that it is a near-field communication device.
Once Moto X launches, at a date believed to be coming soon, Motorola Skip with its three dots will be available for purchase on Motorola.com.
For a limited time, Motorola Skip will be free with orders of Moto X through Moto Maker, the online customize-your-phone site.