Although it had a low-key debut back in 2020 through a Kickstarter campaign, the Flipper Zero’s user base and popularity have grown considerably over the past three years with ever-increasing sales. But the surest sign that a device is a success is when it gets its own app store, which, for the Flipper Zero, launches today.
Explaining to someone what exactly the Flipper Zero does, or what you’re supposed to do with it, isn’t easy. The device’s creators describe it as, “a portable gamified multi-tool designed for pentesters,” while others have called it a multi-purpose hacking tool. Designed with the ability to read, copy, and even replicate the functionality of wireless devices like RFID cards, NFC tags, and remote controls that rely on radio signals or infrared pulses, there are just as many practical uses for the Flipper Zero as there are potential ways for it to be used for illicit activities.
That’s why, earlier this year, Amazon banned the Flipper Zero from being sold through its platform because it can potentially be used as a card-skimming device, which it prohibits. Is that how all the 350,000+ Flipper Zero devices the company claims it has sold so far are being used? Clearly not, because today Flipper Devices Inc. is introducing Flipper Apps: a central hub for apps that can run on the device created by third-party developers, and of the nearly 100 available at launch, none seem to be tools for stealing credit card numbers.
Describing Flipper apps as an app store isn’t entirely accurate because there’s nothing you can actually buy. All of the software available through the hub is free and open source. But like the app stores maintained by companies like Apple, while “any developer can build and submit an application to Flipper Apps,” the company will review the submissions (both manually and through automated processes) to “ensure the applications are safe and perform the declared functionality without accessing prohibited tools, protocols, or frequencies.”
Some of the Flipper Apps available at launch include a software-based authenticator that uses the Time-based One-time Password (TOTP) protocol so the Flipper Zero can be used as a two-step verification tool, a replacement for the Xbox’s infrared remote control, a barcode generator, a digital metronome, and can even run games like Solitaire and Arkanoid. They can be installed using the accompanying Flipper Zero app running on a mobile device, or eventually through a browser with the device connected to a computer.