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Otterbox Review: iPhone 6 Case a modular phone case?

November 01, 2016

Otterbox Review: Universe iPhone 6 Case a Modular phone case?


This Otterbox review takes a look at the Universe iPhone 6 Case that has just launched. This latest piece of news means that another modular phone case is now available. The world is gradually waking up to the MOBILE PHONE CASE REVOLUTION. The technology trends are indicating modular phone and smartphone case solutions, not smartphones are the next big thing.

It is only a mobile phone case but its significance continues to hint where future mobile innovation will come from. Capability is increasing for the smartphone case and accessory makers to add more function and differentiation to smartphones. 2016 is becoming the year of the modular phone and modular phone case.

“As the market approaches saturation, there is no one-size-fits-all-solution, as upgrades by individual consumers are triggered by different innovations. As a result, consumers’ varied preferences could potentially be best served with customisable modular solutions that allow for personalisation of both technical capabilities and appearance.”

– Sara Ballaben, Technology Analyst Mintel report, 2016

However, a note of caution.  This Otterbox review concludes the Universe case is not a SMART modular solution. It is a case that allows you to bolt on accessories.  So it is useful. But not the promised land of other modular solutions. Those that are aiming to overcome the issue of smartphone innovation slowing (e.g. i-BLADES).


Otterbox Review: What the latest "modular" phone case offers

Otterbox is the number 1 mobile phone case manufacturer in the US. It has now jumped on the modular phone bandwagon following Google’s project Ara, i-BLADES Smartcase, Nexpaq, LG’s G5, and the upcoming Moto X a rumoured modular phone from Motorola.  Otterbox have created what they and others describe as a modular phone case. It is called the Otterbox Universe case system. It is an iPhone 6 case.


The case looks like the standard Otterbox case with all the usual protection and drop certification you would expect from a phone cover from the Otterbox brand .  However, it has an accent plate on the back that you can slide out to reveal a rail system. Then you can slide attachments up the rail, so they can be securely held by the case.

These accessories plug into iPhone 6 lighting port or use bluetooth to connect.  At the top of this iPhone 6 case is a groove for camera-focused attachments. Otterbox are calling this a mobile accessories platform.


The stand alone Otterbox iPhone 6 case costs $49.95.  Then you buy separately other accessories from other manufacturers to suit your need. There are around 15 accessories that arrive with the case. You can pick and choose the accessories you want which include:


There have been lots of coverage on the Otterbox case. So I do not intend to repeat those. You can take your pick of an Otterbox review below:

Otterbox jumps on the modular train with a stylish iPhone case - Digital Trends.

Who needs a modular phone when you can have a modular case - Wired

Otterbox Universe Review: Modular Case and Accessories Transform Your iPhone - Wall Street Journal

Otterbox's new case let's you use accessories without removing them - Engadget

Otterbox made a modular case that lets you add and remove accessories - The Verge


Every Otterbox review welcomes the launch of this Otterbox mobile phone case. It is an iPhone 6 case that protects.  It is applauded for its attempt to overcome the ability to add accessories to a smartphone case without removing the case. There are some design gripes about the fact that the plastic piece is easy to lose and it is not a very elegant or particularly revolutionary way to fit existing accessories to a case. There is largely positive sentiment in each Otterbox Universe review.


Smart accessory vs dumb accessory

What most of these reviews miss is that Otterbox’s focus is fundamentally different to what is driving mobile modular technologies.  The big problem statement for technological revolution in the phone case market is "how can we get more from smartphones?".  So that they smartphones can be personalised and fit our individual lifestyles best. That means we all need the ability to customise our phone’s capabilities.

The problem statement that Otterbox is trying to solve is "how can I clip on accessories that could not attach when my smartphone case is on?".

Otterbox is a case maker trying to move into a space that is effectively smart. The Otterbox case is a dumb case as BGR put it in their article.

The case does not connect electronically, leaving each module to include its own solution.  So the accessories themselves have user interfaces that are different and the hardware is 3rd party. As well as not being integrated, this could introduce quality issues both software and hardware. Since anyone can make atachments and make it look like it is endorsed by Otterbox. The issue is without software as a control the case is too "dumb" to know the difference. A very challenging situation and a serious problem with this way to approach ‘modular’.

Otterbox calls these modules for phones since the term module us becoming a buzz word about these offerings from manufacturers — LG based its new G5 smartphone around its “Friends” platform.  But these “modules” are really largely existing accessories that are just able to attach a different way to the phone,

So Otterbox provides its a useful and practical solution to the problem of adding accessories to your smartphone.  But it will not herald a new era of smartphone innovation.  It will not make your smartphone smarter.

The future mobile technology trends

This latest news continues to point towards a mobile future where the role of the mobile phone case is more than pure protection.  This Otterbox review sees there is definitely a place for Otterbox’s Universe iPhone 6 Case.  It is the number one case maker in the US after all.  However, real innovation and step changes in mobile device experiences will not come from this direction.  This will help you bolt on what you have more easily.

The interesting and more exciting space is how the mobile phone case can become a smart solution.  Meeting the demands of today's busy digital lifestyle. How by integrating hardware and software you can make your smartphone more personal and relevant.

The mobile phone case revolution is coming. Make no mistake. The i-BLADES Smartcase is one of the leaders in this mobile device space. Its Smartcase is the most intelligent smartphone case in the world. It will not only protect but it will upgrade your smartphones capabilities.  This is the future for mobile technology a truly smart accessory.


To read more about these technology trends or the i-BLADES Smartcase join our mailing list below. Or if you wanted to purchase one you can pre-order here.