A modular smartphone case makes sense! It doesn’t fulfill the Phonebloks dream of fighting electronic waste, but since all smartphone users use cases to protect their expensive devices, why not extend the functionality of the case?
Millions of people are already patiently waiting to get their hands on modular smartphones, there is a thirst for these devices and it is growing stronger each day. Three different modular smartphone cases are already trying their luck at modularity, hoping to cash in on this Tech that is already predicted to play a huge role in our future smartphones and smart devices.
Moscase (Modular Smart Case), Nexpaq and MODR are the first three modular smartphone cases that are hoping to give current smartphone users a taste of what it is like to have a modular smartphone.
The Moscase Modular Smartphone case
Modular smartphone case Moscase, is the first smartphone case to try their luck at modularity. The Moscase is mostly focused on becoming a health tracker/ fitness device and even aims at replacing your smartwatch. The Moscase is currently being developed by a company located in Hungary. It is a simple modular smartphone case that houses your smartphone and is capable of attaching a single module.
The main part of the Moscase contains an opening on the back for connecting additional backplates/ modules, a heat sensor that is capable of measuring your body heat, optical sensor which is used to measure oxygen and heart rate saturation, impedance sensors which will measure stress levels and body fat percentage, headphone output, hardware connection which connects the case to your smartphone, and an electronic circuit which handles the connection between the smartphone and modules. Moscase also provide an app that utilizes the functions of the modules and sensors.
The Backplates/ Modules
Moscase currently has five backplates available for customers to choose from:
An E-paper screen backplate – The E-paper screen backplate connects to the Moscase and can be used to read documents and other contents. It is expected to consume very little energy and should make reading much easier on the eyes.
Battery and Storage combination backplate – This backplate will come with extra battery power to help your smartphone to last longer and additional storage for extra media files.
Solar Panel backplate – One of the most interesting additions to the Moscase is a solar panel which can be used to charge the device on the go. This might actually be a life saver for explorers or anyone planning to take a trip to a remote area.
Hi-Fi Speaker System – This backplate contains loud stereo speakers which Moscase claims will be capable of rivaling most full range Hi-Fi systems.
Breathalyzer backplate – If you are one who has a problem with drinking, driving and the cops, this breathalyzer might help. It contains detection sensors that can test your breath alcohol levels, and through its connection with the Moscase app will tell you if that alcohol level is safe.
The Moscase is currently compatible only with the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Moscase plans on becoming compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and other Android devices sometime in the future.
Cost and shipping of a Moscase
The Moscase is currently up for funding on kickstarter, and hoping to reach funding goal of $150,000. A backplate costs $59 and the starting price for the unit is $133. Shipping is expected to commence towards the end of October.
Nexpaq Modular Smartphone Case
The Nexpaq modular smartphone case is also currently seeking funding on Kickstarter with a goal of $50,000. It is being developed by Nexpaq Inc, a company that is located in Los Angeles, CA, “The nexpaq team is made with professionals coming from different background (Industrial, research, sales and marketing).”
The Nexpaq modular smartphone case is a very ambitious project that aims to extend the functions of your smartphone through the use of six different removable modules of varying sizes. There is a main case that your smartphone fits into, and the modules are attached to the case. Each case also has a built in 1000 mAh battery to automatically add some extra juice to your device.
Nexpaq also comes with a companion app which lets users view and manage all the connected modules.
Nexpaq modular smartphone modules
Nexpaq is creating a modular smartphone case that truly aims to compete against upcoming modular devices. Nexpaq didn’t just create a modular phone case, but they have made the modular smartphone case open source allowing third party developers to make modules. Nexpaq will also be making available a module developer kit which can be purchased during the kickstarter campaign.
Nexpaq currently has 12 modules available for their modular smartphone case:
- Battery Module
- Amplified Speaker Module
- Super LED Flashlight Module
- SD Card Reader Module
- Temperature and Humidity Module
- Hotkeys Module
- USB Flash Module
- Air Quality Module
- Breathalyzer Module
- Laser Module
- 64GB Storage Module
- Dummy Module
The Nexpaq modular smartphone case is currently compatible with the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the Samsung Galaxy S5. Nexpaq plans to extend their list of compatible devices. They have started a request page on their website, where you can go to select which devices should get the Nexpaq modular smartphone case next. The devices that currently have the most requests are: iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy Note 4, iPhone 5S, LG G3, Galaxy S4.
Nexpaq modular smartphone modules will be compatible with all Nexpaq modular smartphone cases; if you have an iPhone compatible Nexpaq case, then the modules will work with a Galaxy S5 compatible Nexpaq modular smartphone case.
Nexpaq Modular Smartphone Case release date and price
A Nexpaq modular smartphone case with four (4) modules currently costs $89 on their kickstarter campaign. The accompanying modules are: battery module, storage module, speaker module and a hotkeys module. Prices for additional modules run from $3 for a dummy module (module for filling up empty spaces) to $29 for a 32GB USB Flash module. For developers, the module developer kit which is bundled with a Nexpaq modular smartphone case will cost $275.
After the Kickstarter campaign, developers will start to receive their developer’s kit in August of 2015, a Nexpaq beta device in November of 2015, and Nexpaq modular smartphone cases will ship to backers in January of 2016.
The MODR Modular Smartphone Case
MODR INC is the name of the company behind the MODR modular smartphone case and they are currently based in Toronto Canada. Unlike the other Modular Smartphone Cases, MODR has placed an emphasis on photography, and also plans on extending modularity to devices other than Android smartphones and iPhones. Blackberry, Windows Phone, tablets and Apple MacBooks are all expected to receive MODR modular cases. The MODR modular smartphone case will also have built in wireless charging technology.
The MODR has a built in USB hub and X-Port expansion for connecting two different types of modules along with a lens mount for attaching customized camera lens.
Two USB hubs are built into the MODR modular smartphone case and they allow for the connecting of what MODR refers to as reModules. MODR currently has four of these reModules available: MicroSD reader, 4-LED Flashlight, NFC Buttons, Camera Flash Assist.
MODR’s X-port expansion slot is located on the back of the device and is used to connect the much larger expansion devices/ modules. MODR has four of these modules that will be available: 3000 mAh battery module, Solar Battery pack combo module, PICO Projector module, Bluetooth Speaker with Battery pack combo module.
The lens mount is located directly over the camera on the smartphone and can be used to connect various lenses capable of adding unique functionalities to the device. MODR plans on making available three such lenses: Wide angle & Macro lens, Telephoto lens, Fisheye lens.
Availability and Pricing
MODR INC plans on running a Indiegogo campaign for the device which will start on May 11.
“MODR will retail for $149 USD for the Power Pack including two reModules of the user’s choice, the 3500mAh battery accessory, and a wireless charge pad. As a crowdfunding perk, it will launch on Indiegogo for $129 for the same Power Pack. Alternatively, the Core Pack will retail for $79 ($69 on Indiegogo) and allow users to individually choose and purchase their favorite accessories. MODR is slated to be available in stores the third quarter of 2015.”
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