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Passfort is a tiny touchscreen that tackles password headaches

Passwords are one of the banes of modern technology. They’re hard to create and harder to remember, particularly given it’s wise to use a different inscrutable random combination of letters, numbers and symbols for every online account.

Passfort is a portable device with a tiny screen that resembles those awful little digital picture gadgets that populated drug stores years ago.  However, it is even more appropriately at home on a keychain. The device can store up to 100 accounts and associated passwords and enter them via USB or Bluetooth. That makes it broadly compatible with Macs and PCs, as well as Android and iOS phones and tablets. Passfort itself is, of course, password protected and its content encrypted. One can choose either a PIN or a from a series of images on its small square touchscreen From there, the device acts a bit like a Bluetooth keyboard, sending the characters for the account and password for whatever Web site or app you swipe to on its display.

Passfort can manage up to 128 different accounts. There’s no word on how long the battery should last. The product is being offered for $49, a $10 discount off the retail price, with delivery expected in March 2016. New York-based Xolutronic, the group behind the gadget, seeks to raise $100,000 by September 16th.

Passfort is not the first digital password repository, but its use of a companion app for entering accounts and passwords as well as its ability to enter that information directly into the Web site or app sets it apart. It should have the most appeal to those who need to have access to a relatively small number of complex passwords and don’t trust the cloud. However, there are many alternatives, including cloud-based password managers from Dashlane, 1Password and LastPass. To compete more effectively, it would be helpful if Passfort had a better understanding of what app or Web site was active. That’s just one reason it seems as though the product’s functionality is destined to show up as a smartwatch app eventually.

Arthur Tufeau is a contributor to Backerjack.