The tiny Zomm smartphone security 'leash' has finally been launched in the UK with the company earnestly promoting it as the best way to never leave an expensive device behind.
Setup is a matter of pairing the device to a mobile using Bluetooth and then, ideally, connecting the coin-like Zomm alarm to another object always carried by the owner, such as a set of keys.
The principle is simple. If the two move more than a set distance apart - 30 feet or 9 metres is the quoted distance - the pairing is broken and an alarm sounds with flashing lights. The Zomm is then reset by pressing a button in its centre.
In addition, the Bluetooth connection allows the Zomm to act as a functional speakerphone for the mobile while it is stored out of sight or in a bag. Calls can be sent to voicemail by pressing the centre button twice with a long press of nine seconds dialling a pre-defined number on the phone in case of emergencies.
One minor hassle is that the device's built-in lithium Ion battery needs to be recharged, the company estimates, every few days using the micro-USB port. Users will only know they've lost their phone or keys if they remember to keep the Zomm charged.
Although marketed to protect smartphones it also functions as an alarm to protect anything it is physically attached to such as a set of keys, at least as long as the user always carries the phone. Forget both and the protection falls apart.
For the £69.95 asking price the company promises firmware updates as long as the device has been registered.
Despite the Zomm's obvious cleverness, this class of devices is a market still in its earliest stages and far from exclusive to one company. A cheaper but similar device, the Nio, is sold in the UK for £43.50 including delivery.
Two years ago, UK startup based Tenbu Technologies in Edinburgh tried and apparently failed to get an identical idea off the ground. That this device is basically a pairing system based on Bluetooth probably makes it hard to patent to keep out rivals.