Google's Project Ara might be a way off getting a full consumer launch, but a new crowdfunding project hopes to scratch that modular itch in the meantime. Nexpaq is designed for selected iOS and Android handsets, providing users with a choice of add-ons that can be clipped into the back of the case, with options that increase battery life, add an SD card slot and much more.
The Nexpaq case is designed to allow users to easily enhance their smartphone simply by sliding it into a new case. Each case is equipped with a 1,000 mAh battery that the company claims will increase the parent smartphone's battery life by between 30 and 60 percent (depending on the phone as well as the installed modules), alongside six slots for add-ons.
There are currently 12 different modules available, with users picking from an amplified speaker, LED flashlight, laser pointer, breathalyzer, additional battery packs and hotkeys that can be assigned to different smartphone functions. There are also a few storage options available, coming in the form of an SD card reader, USB flash drive and 64 GB backup module. Lastly, a couple of sensors are thrown into the mix – checking air quality, temperature and humidity.
While that's already quite a selection, the project's creators are hoping that other developers will get on board, building new modules for the case to further increase its functionality.
Versions will be available for the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Oddly there's no mention of the Galaxy S6, though there are plans to add more compatible devices down the line. The modules themselves are compatible with both iOS and Android, meaning that if you switch phones or upgrade, you can move your add-on modules to a new case whether or not you've stuck to the same platform.
The case connects to its parent smartphone both physically and wirelessly, by means of the lightning or micro-USB connector, and via Bluetooth. A companion app serves as the brains behind the operation, automatically detecting and monitoring installed add-ons.
As the Nexpaq case is a crowdfunding project, it'll have to hit its US$50,000 funding target if its going to make it to market. It's currently 30 percent of the way there with 30 days to go, so things are looking good. If you're interested in owning one, a pledge of $89 will secure an earlybird unit complete with single speaker, battery and card reader add-ons, as well as two hotkey modules.
If all goes to plan, the cases will start shipping in January 2016.
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