(NEW YORK) — Motorola has discovered that the average smartphone user unlocks their phone 39 times a day through the process of inputting a PIN or password.
But that is something the phone maker is now hoping to change with a new little device. Called the Skip, the small thumb-sized clip can be tapped to the back of Motorola’s new Moto X Android phone to unlock the device.
“Wear Skip on your shirt sleeve, shirt hem, belt loop — wherever it feels most comfortable. It’s fast, easy and secure. It provides all the benefits of a PIN without the hassle,” Motorola wrote in a blog post Friday announcing the new device.
Along with the Skip come three little “Skip Dots” or stickers. When you place your phone on the sticker it will automatically create a “trusted zone” so your phone will remain unlocked so you can use the Moto X’s Touchless Control, which allows you to use the phone with voice commands.
The Skip and the Dot, which use NFC technology, have to be specifically paired with a Moto X. You can unpair the device if you happen to lose your Skip. The little device will be included with all phones that are ordered through Motorola’s Moto Maker site, which will allow users to customize their phones in a selection of colors. It will cost $19.99 on its own.
The Skip is Motorola’s first step to solving the issues of smartphone security. In June, the company showed off some futuristic ideas of authentication, including an electronic tattoo and a pill which would unlock a phone.
The issue of smartphone security and authentication — confirming that you are the rightful owner of the device — has become a focus for smartphone makers as “Apple picking” or smartphone thefts have been called a “national epidemic.” More than 1.6 million people had their smartphones stolen last year, according to the Federal Communications Commission. And despite software passwords, thieves are able to wipe the software, reset the phones and resell them.
Apple is expected to address the issue directly in the hardware of the next iPhone. According to reports, the next iPhone — likely called the iPhone 5S — will have a fingerprint sensor built into the home button of the phone.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Matt McFarland, CNN
Paul Menser, BizMojo Idaho