Securing access to mobile devices has become more important and handset manufacturers are taking different steps to ease the process. Apple Made headlines with inclusion of a fingerprint scanner that can be used to access the device and make purchases in the App Store. Less publicized was Motorola Mobility’s unveiling of Skip, an NFC-enabled clip that can be used to unlock the company’s new flagship device, the Moto X.
The Skip device is thus far only reported to work with the Moto X – the first Motorola device to fall under Google ownership, but Google’s support of NFC smart phones suggests it could have a future with other handsets.
Skip simplifies the process of unlocking your handset. With quick touch of the Skip to the back of your Moto X, the phone bypasses the lock screen altogether and takes the user directly to their home screen.
Setup is also simple and requires the user to first activate NFC in the Moto X’s settings menu. Next the setup app is downloaded from the Google Play store and finally the Skip device is tapped to pair it with the handset.
Following the initial setup, Skip becomes a custom key fob, capable of interacting with that specific Moto X device via the NFC sensor housed beneath the phone’s back panel.
The Skip device is roughly the size of a thumb. Its felt-covered design makes it easy to attach the clip to clothing fastening together with a small, but powerful magnet.
It ships with three NFC-enabled stickers that can also be paired with the Moto X. These stickers, dubbed Skip Dots, are meant to be placed in areas that are frequented by the user – the dashboard of a car, bedside table, purse or office desk.
Skip does not act as a straight replacement for a pattern or PIN, rather acts as a bypass of a pattern or PIN for those times when the user feels so inclined to save some time.
While maintaining the pattern and PIN methods is important, and necessary, it could actually be a kiss of death for the Skip device. The folks at Pocket-Lint go on to explain that every time the user wakes their device, they are first prompted to enter their pass code on the screen, meaning Skip’s effectiveness really boils down to remembering to use it in the first place.
To this point Skip may be a novel feature on an otherwise extremely advanced device.
For a limited time, Skip will be bundled with all custom orders of the Moto X free of charge. Those not interested in applying a custom paint job to their Moto X, however, will have to pay $20 for a Skip – a price that may deter some consumers.
At the end of the day, Skip is yet another use for NFC technology that could make life a little easier and more convenient. The Moto X and a generation of equipped smart phones are striving to find ways to leverage NFC en route to a new level of user experience. If nothing else, Skip serves as a reminder of this trend.