Cell Phone Accessories

EVOL sees no evil in creating a modular phone case

They may be called smartphones, but — unlike we humans — they can’t really improve based on what they’ve learned. The capabilities they’re born with are the capabilities with which they’re discarded, at least when it comes to their hardware.

That said, the iPhone may soon be able to tap into a range of performance-enhancing modules thanks to the design of EVOL, a case that can accommodate up to four rectangular add-ons. This resulting design looks somewhat like a metallic Hershey bar. EVOL modules include the expected battery and flash memory as well as a more powerful camera flash and some specialty lens modules such as fisheye and wide-angle. EVOL touts its slim form factor and integrated charging with the iPhone. As such, it’s come out with a dock that can charge both the modules an phones as well as the Apple Watch. Money is the root of all EVOL. The company seeks $50,000 by June 23rd,  A standard bundle available in black or white is $69 with an expected delivery of July.

As the world waits for the likes of Project Ara, crowdfunding campaigns are attempting to bring the benefits of the modular phone to existing popular models. EVOL is notable for its relatively slim profile that attempts to preserve the iPhone’s form factor even with modules attached. However, as with Nexpaq, it faces many obstacles in trying to build out a third-party selection of modules.



Backerjack Podcast #17: Going Kleer, Frankencases, and Android boomboxes

In sweet Episode 17 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steven Sande and Ross Rubin check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:

  • HearNotes, an alternative to Bluetooth headsets that offer higher audio quality and a more reliable connection.
  • Nexpaq, a case for the iPhone and Galaxy S6 that can accommodate up to six modules ranging from flash memory to an alcohol breathalyzer
  • Zwing, a boombox with punch that incorporates an Android-based touchscreen for streaming or playing back local music and movies.

Notes: We discussed Zwing in advance of seeing its Indiegogo project page. The link above points to more details about prcing and expected availability. Also, a similar product, the Zettaly Avy, has contacted its original Kickstarter backers to note that it is ready to ship its devices.

Many thanks to HearNotes for sponsoring this episode! Please support its campaign.

Download  the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and follow Backerjack on Twitter and Facebook. Also check out Steve’s great work on Apple World Today!

Cell Phone Accessories

Nexpaq modular phone case lets you easily snap in new gadgets

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.