Once upon a time in the early days of PCs, enthusiasts customized their desktop machines with a wide range of different hardware — optical and hard drives, sound and graphics cards, and a range of monitors, keyboards and mice.
That spirit of customization lives on mostly in the world of high-performance videogame enthusiasts, but it’s mostly passed on as we’ve adopted tightly integrated laptops, tablets and phones that often have little or no expansion capability. Nexpaq, though, is seeking to bring customization into a new era with a case that can accommodate a wide range of modules, many of which communicate with the phones via Bluetooth. Up to six modules can be installed at any time and they’re all compatible with both iOS and Android.
The range of modules include breath alcohol, temperature/humidity and air quality analyzers, an amplified speaker, a laser pointer, two hot keys (to trigger events on the phone) an extra battery (in addition to one built into the case), n SD card reader, and up to 4 GB of extra flash or a USB drive. Cases work with either the iPhone 6, Galaxy S6 or the S6 Edge. Nexpaq is seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter by May 30th. A case and four modules is available for $109 and is due to ship in November
Nexpaq has something for everyone, but it’s not enough for everyone to want something. Unlike slow-burn projects such as Google’s Project Ara, the Nexpaq case allows people to keep their popular phones. But it also raises the bar on the level of components that must be offered by Nexpaq and others it hopes to attract to justify the elimination of their phones’ slim profiles. Without a killer module, Nexpaq will have to count on pocket pack rats who wnat a range of relatively obscure accessories at the ready.