Google made it clear in January that it was dissatisfied with password authentication, as reports revealed that the search engine giant was working on new tech to replace traditional PINs. Now, we could be seeing the first product of that effort in the newly announced Motorola Skip for Moto X.
Skip is a small thumb-sized clip that pairs with your Moto X and unlocks the device with a single tap. The accessory can be worn on you shirt, belt or any other area that feels comfortable. Essentially, users will be able to unlock their devices without having to remember a PIN or touch their phone whatsoever.
Motorola says that each Skip clip comes with three Skip dots that also pair with your phone. Moto X owners can touch their device to these stickers to unlock their phone rather than typing in a passcode. For example, if you leave a Skip dot on your nightstand you can simply say “OK Google Now, set an alarm for 7 am,” without having to touch your smartphone. You can still unlock your phone with a password if you forget or lose your Skip, and both Skip clips and dots will only work when paired with your phone.
The company hasn’t announced exactly when these accessories will launch, but did say that they will be available on Motorola’s website when the Moto X goes on sale. The Skip will be available in gray with a black accent, but Motorola says it plans to release more colors soon. For a limited time, Skip will be available for free with all Moto X orders made through AT&T’s Moto Maker.
The Skip builds on the Moto X’ touchless controls functionality, which the company emphasized during the phone’s launch event in early August. For example, the Moto X is designed to spring into action whenever its owner says, “OK, Google Now.” It’s trained to recognize the user’s voice, so if someone snatches your phone or attempts to use it, the Moto X won’t respond.
More importantly, the Skip represents an effort to create secure alternatives for traditional passwords. In 2012 alone, numerous incidents illustrated just how insecure PINs and passcodes can be. Last June hordes of LinkedIn users had their passwords leaked by hackers. Mat Honan of Wired had his entire digital identity stolen last year when hackers stole his Gmail password, tarnished his Twitter account and remotely wiped his iPhone, iPad and laptop.