There are some products that introduce new and innovative ways to use the tools you already own, like an iPhone case that doubles as a Wi-Fi hot spot. And then there are others that bow to consumer demand no matter how dumb the consumer demand may be. In this case, it’s the Skip, a clip from Motorola for the Moto X that renders all the security precautions that you should be taking with your phone absolutely useless.
How? Well, it’s a clip with an NFC chip inside it. You pair the NFC chip to your phone’s NFC, and now your Skip has become the keys to the kingdom. Just tap it and you’re in the phone! No passcodes! No tracing your finger around a series of dots. Not even a frickin’ security question. Just tap and all the goodies are yours for the taking!
On the one hand, we get why this is useful for people who mostly use their phones to communicate and don’t keep sensitive data on their smartphones. Which, really, you shouldn’t be doing anyway, but it is what it is. And it is true that passcodes and other tools for keeping people from getting into your phone generally have to balance speed and security, and thus aren’t the most tightly secure methods available.
That said, it seems a bit stupid to come up with a product that essentially serves as a lockpick for your phone. To Motorola’s credit, not just anyone can set this up; you need to have access to your Google account to configure the device. Still, not just designing a back door into your phone, but selling it for $20 a pop and having you configure it to work perfectly just seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
Hey, at least it’s optional.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.