2 Comments

Summary:

The touchless voice command feature of the Moto X is super; right up until you have to physically unlock your phone. Motorola has an answer for that authentication challenge in the form of a wearable NFC tag and NFC stickers.

Motorola Skip colors

Speaking to a Moto X smartphone and having it obey your spoken command is great. Unless, like many people, you keep your phone locked by a PIN, gesture pattern, Face Unlock or some other security method. In that case, the Moto X will prompt you to unlock your device before continuing with your voice command; something that defeats the purpose of “touchless” controls.

That’s why Motorola introduced Motorola Skip on Friday. The small, wearable NFC device can unlock your phone or help create a trusted zone area where your handset won’t be locked.

Motorola Skip colors

Motorola says the average smartphone user unlocks their handset 39 times day and it takes an average of 2.3 seconds each time to unlock the phone. With Skip, that time will be cut down. To unlock the phone, users simply tap the handset to the Skip. If the Skip is lost, it can be easily unpaired from the Moto X and replaced with a new Skip.

The device will also come with 3 Skip Dots;  NFC stickers that can be place where you most use your phone. Think of your work desk, nightstand and car. When you place your Moto X on a Skip Dot, the phone stays unlocked, allowing it to perform voice commands without this interruption:

Moto X locked

For a limited time, Motorola will include Skip with the AT&T Moto X phones that are customized online: You can see the ordering process here in this video. Motorola will also be selling the Skip accessory when the Moto X launches on AT&T next week: Customers can begin to buy the handset on August 22.

Considering that Touchless Control is one of the key features of the phone, the small accessory is well worth it; depending on the price, that is. Motorola hasn’t officially announced the cost of Skip, although PocketNow reports the price for the Skip and three Skip Dots will be $20 if purchased separately.

Motorola says this is just the first “step on the path” of intelligent authentication methods. The Moto X can already be used to create a trusted zone in a car, simply by pairing the device over Bluetooth.

After reviewing the Moto X, I’m sold on buying the phone and have no doubt I’ll be adding the Skip accessory either as a free add-on or a later purchase: It simply makes sense to get the most out of the phone while maintaining security.

  1. This is a pretty interesting direction to move in, but wouldn’t something like a Bluetooth id tag or RFID or something like create a more useful and mobile safe zone?

    A washable tag (clip, something like a cuff link, etc.) sewn into your SEV pants or shirt could ensure that you never have to unlock when your phone is at-hand.

    An NFC sticker on your docks would seem to work fine.

    Google already allows you to identify your home in Now/Maps. If that could establish an unlock-free geofenced zone, that would cover the rest of it.

    This is quite a promising direction to go in. It is a sort of quietly useful concept. One wonders why someone hasn’t already done it already (in a more user-friendly way than something like Tasker).

    Share
    1. Jack,
      I think the problem with using a location is, your phone’s gps would need to be on continuously thus draining your battery.

      I do believe the Moto X can have “safe zones” defined via bluetooth items — Kevin will have to let us know more. Therefore, maybe a bluetooth headset or something like a keyboard?

      Nonetheless, these NFC stickers seem like a good bet especially when battery life is considered.

      At least a company is finally thinking!

      Share

Comments have been disabled for this post