We go hands-on and take a closer look at Symple ID

By DJ Reyes on 13 Aug 2014 11:22 am EDT

Symple ID started as a Kickstarter project that wanted to make signing in to your accounts online simpler. Back in April we called for you to back the project. It met its target and now backers are receiving the goods. I backed the project and will take a closer look at how it all works. If you're interested you can also find out how you can get started with Symple ID.


What is Symple ID?

If you haven't heard of Symple ID before, it is a simple solution to logging into your accounts online using NFC. We're always told not to use the same password for every account and to make our passwords hard by mixing it up with numbers and symbols. When you have many accounts you often forget your password. Writing them down is not always a great solution either. There are a few services out there like LastPass and 1Password, even BlackBerry's own Password Keeper that will allow you to create secure passwords for the many accounts you have and all you need to remember is one password. Symple ID works similarly but instead you use your NFC-enabled device and tap to sign in.


Reader comments

We go hands-on and take a closer look at Symple ID


This looks pretty cool. I really haven't experimented with NFC yet on my Z10... Something I will be doing sooner than later

Yes aside from some pretty basic stuff there's not a lot I can find that it's useful for

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My children have been tagged. I don't remember their names. Apart from that, I use NFC for ring profiles by my bed, work, and in the car.

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I use them to toggle on settings. Like alarm, I out a tag on side of night stand sets me alarm with a swipe, set one near door to conference room to set to vibrate and out of office reply. Many many ways to use tags. Experiment it's fun. Really like this idea of passwords and use of phone to desktop

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One thing to keep in mind, right now their desktop software only supports Chrome Browser. I do not have Chrome installed anymore and do not want to switch to using it as my primary. They claim a Firefox plugin is in the works, but we shall see. I backed them when they were on KS, so I'm waiting for them to make the Firefox plugin...

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Same thing here, I'm a bit disappointed it's not out yet as they said. Hopefully soon...

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I have it and love it. My only problem is the tag recognition isn't that great on the Z30. If it is a card, I don't have a problem just with the tag and bracelet. But I think it may be my device. Still love the app though when I do get it to work.

Posted from my big beautiful BlackBerry Z30!!! I love this phone!!

NFC is *near field* communications. This means the credentials have to be close together. On the bracelet and tag, the antenna of the credential is much smaller, hence you need to be putting it very close to the phone and in the correct spot. On the card, the antenna is much bigger and that's why it's working much better.

I was going to sign up to Symple ID when they were asking for startup funds but my worry was about the lag between the time you NFC on the phone and when it logs you in on the PC. If it's slower than typing the password, then it's not worth it for me.

I hear ya, but I have held the bracelet and the tag to the back of the phone, and it still won't recognize it 75% of the time.

Posted from my big beautiful BlackBerry Z30!!! I love this phone!!

i backed the kickstarter, so i've had the thing for about a couple weeks now. There is barely any lag at all between the time you tap and the time the information fills the website. If you only have a handful of passwords that you know by heart, then it would likely be quicker to just login manually. This is aimed at people who have lots of different accounts and want to have large & complex unique passwords for each which would be difficult to remember/keep straight.

One limitation which they don't exactly go out of their way to broadcast is that this currently ONLY works with the Google Chrome browser.

I have reached out to them about this and they are working on plug-ins for Firefox and IE (As long as IE plays nicely).

Posted from my big beautiful BlackBerry Z30!!! I love this phone!!

Well i really hope that you are right about IE and Firefox! Until now I've done my best to avoid Google for most things.

The app probably also works on the Chromium broker, which is the open-source version if Google Chrome... without the connection to Google's servers.

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If it's only for Chrome, then I'm not interested. I use Firefox primarily and Explorer when I have to for work. I'm not interested in using yet another browser.

This as be my paranoia kicking in, but I don’t quite feel comfortable with using something like that for my more critical passwords. I'd want a period of problem free time before I would use it for those passwords anyway.

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For all who don't want to use Chrome because of Google. Why not using Chromium? It's an open source project and the basis of Chrome. In other words Chromium is Chrome without the privacy invading additions. Symple ID works fine with Chromium.

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One more thing, I have a work Z10 and it recognizes all tags without issue. So, I am back to my phone being the problem. No harm in trying as it is still under the 1yr. warranty.

Posted from my big beautiful BlackBerry Z30!!! I love this phone!!

Very cool. Symple ID has supported BB10 from the get go.....props to them nice job!

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You need BOTH the tag and your phone. Just one won't do anything and nothing is stored on the tag anyway. Someone has to have both your phone and your tag and your computer where you have the Symple ID plug-in installed to be able to access your accounts.

You won't be able to use it, so it's recommended you make a backup of your NFC tag.

Lost tag can't be used by another person as they would need your phone and NFC tag to login

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Funky spelling of real words is a huge turn off. Neat concept though. Perhaps a new name that isn't already used like "NFC one ID" or "Simple NFC ID". It's so cringe worthy I didn't even want to click on the article but to comment.

I completely agree!

I think it has to do with the fact that it seems cool or youthful... well, it is youthful alright, in the same way a 1st. grader that can't spell kind of youthful.

Anyway, I was exhausted reading how to make this thing work, I didn't even finish the article... seems like too much of a hassle to me. And the fact that it's not headless is pretty pathetic (although I'm sure that will come later) considering it is supposed to make your life easier.

Kind of reminds me of people who want an app to lock the screen because pressing the power button is too much work for them.

it's actually really easy to set up. to do what it needs to do, there has to be some setup, but it really isn't hard or time consuming.

Exactly and this is coming from someone who uses the application.

Posted from my big beautiful BlackBerry Z30!!! I love this phone!!

This does seem pretty cool, but I think I'll be sticking with KeePass + Dropbox for all my computers and devices since it is very convenient for me and free. This seems a bit convoluted but I can appreciate the superior security setup.

Not interested.

-Less secure than BlackBerry Password Keeper.
-Requires Chrome + a plugin
-More items needed (NFC tag)
-Creates opportunity for Man in the Middle attack during password transport

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I bought in on the starter project, and admittedly, I had some frustrations at first. BUT I contacted the dev and he is very dedicated to his app and to Blackberry. He is also very open to suggestions and ideas so I know this service is only going to get better. I pestered him a fair bit just with hypothetical questions like, "What if you did this or that?" so I could understand what kind of things could be done with this setup.

I'm a long time LastPass user too so of course, I'm weary of entering in my whole database and then have something go wrong so I'm easing into it. I'm going to use it for all my banking and sensitive stuff for sure as it is going to be more secure than LastPass which is still stored online.

I find it's a trade off..LastPass is quicker and more convenient just because you can access it everywhere but with SympleID, the app self verifies with their servers through a secure tunnel to check it's authenticity (no passwords go through to them so no potential for Man in the Middle) and then all your passwords are stored encrypted on your phone (only 1 device at a time btw) and require the NFC to fill the logins.

I like the concept and I'm going to keep supporting this dev because I think he's onto something.

Hate chrome. Love the core BlackBerry Password Keeper. Plus this travels to and from my switching devices and I have no problem typing in. I also use several different computers and would have to have so much involved to set up.

Interesting idea.
I know NFC is really just getting going. Will wait for future versions or something that is spelled correctly.

 Swiped off my Z10 

Are the passwords stored on my phone transferable to another service? I'm asking because I'm always concern with services that don't let you leave without significant head trauma.

I didn't ask about transferring to another service but I did inquire about cross-platform since they also have an Android version. Currently you can backup and restore to another device within the same platform only. I did mention it would probably be good to design it so the database was universal in case you ever wanted to use an Android tablet or something instead.

Interesting concept, cause it saves time. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could start up my pc and log in by swiping my nfc-device across the keyboard?

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Just ordered the starter kit, pass and usb. This is one of the best solutions I have seen. Looking forward to see the goods come over the ocean to the Netherlands and give it a go!

Z10 |

How does this enable you to create stronger passwords? All it will do is force you to change your password every time you forget to take the NFC tag with you when you leave the house and need to access one of your accounts. Then you will have to go back in and configure that account again.
Not sure why anyone would fund or buy this.

Lol, ok..well, you can make backup tags so put one on a sticker and keep it in your wallet so you have it with. Or since it doesn't force you to make more complex passwords, keep making simple ones and login without it I guess.

That's like saying, "I'm not putting a deadbolt lock on my door cause if I forget my key, I'm gonna have to break in through the window anyway." Or you could just make an extra key.

NFC stickers are cheap like borscht. Lol

What if you forget your wallet with the tag in it? It's pretty simple to remember a complex strong password, people choose not to because they are lazy.

Hi Everyone,

I'm the founder of Symple ID and happy to answer any questions or concerns that folks have. The easiest way is through support@sympleid.com since we can track questions, suggestions and bugs that way. We also have a growing online help desk with a fair bit of information here: www.sympleid.com/help.

We did indeed build first for BlackBerry (webworks) and are very much committed to the platform; my daily device is a z30 and I had a z10 before that :) (and I have a Bold, and two PlayBooks...)

We have just launched post Kickstarter, so yes indeed we do have plans to build the product out with new features like Firefox support. However our focus these first few weeks after initial launch is to address bugs, help folks get up and running and get feedback on which features people most want. We've actually posted an article about this very topic a few days ago on www.SympleID.com/help (browse our solutions).

Regardless browsers, at present you can indeed use Opera or the open source Chromium browser instead of Chrome (again details through our help page).

Regarding NFC tag reading, one of the earlier posts was spot-on ; it's a combination of antenna size on the tag and the read capabilities of your phone (as well as tag placement). As much as I love my z30 I can say that a Galaxy S2, for example) will win hands down in a competition to read a tag. That said, the most easily read tags for a BlackBerry are the cards, then the hang-tags, then the wristbands. The other factor here is use of an "NFC-friendly" case. If you have a thick case on your phone that will indeed make it harder to read NFC tags (no matter where you get them from). Lastly, we also have an article in our help portal on this topic with a few tips to offer the reader.

Lastly, although it's hard to hear when not everyone likes an idea you've spent a lot of time and effort building from scratch, we recognize that Symple ID isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. For our part, we're passionate about the BlackBerry platform and making Symple ID an awesome solution. To that end it's really great to see all the positive comments here and to hear from users through our website! Thanks for all the kind support and looking forward to making Symple ID even better.

Best Regards,

Richard Fox-Ivey

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I use Lastpass and Yubikey. Yubikey works on USB for my laptop and on certain BB10 leaks, it worked for NFC also. Lastpass is an Android port so NFC requires 10.3 OS, which I'm not presently using.

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@DJ Reyes, this is interesting. Thanks.

(N.B. There's a typo/grammatical error in the third sentence of the first paragraph: "It met it's target"... it's should be its ;) )