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The future of smartphone case design: software innovation

July 10, 2016

Making a Smartphone case Smart, requires innovation across software and hardware


The time has come for a smartphone case to do much more than just protect your phone.  Everyday we hear about a new product claiming smartness. You now have smart showers, smart homes, smart fridges.

However, currently the accessory that is closest to the original smart device (the smartphone) remains in the main, “dumb”.  Just a phone covering.  For smartphone case producers the expertise that has seen them grow (design, colour,  material-finish), is far from them being able to create Smart smartphone cases.

In the world of smart devices, the user experience and software must be a key focus. But this requires bridging the divide of two different world’s.  Something the world’s first Smartcase from i-BLADES has overcome - the modular phone case of the future. The software inside is as much part of its design as the hardware.

Smart is everywhere. Its time phone cases got smart.  They are about to .....


Radical innovation through cross boundary collaboration

Radical innovation is something you do not associate with phone cases!  Radical innovation comes when different disciplines cross knowledge boundaries to produce something new. A great example of this is how it has been a driving force behind Pixar’s successful blockbuster creations.

Pixar's creative approach.

A Smartcase may not be as exciting as one of Pixar's movies but to create the smartness the same approach is needed. The case expertise and design that is based in Shenzhen in China is 1,000’s of miles from Silicon Valley where a lot of expertise in Smart technology resides. The distance is not just in terms of miles but also approaches and culture.  These differences are something i-BLADES has managed to harness in working with its Chinese case partners to bring these two worlds together to innovate.  To marry the traditional world of the case manufacturing with the world of software and electronics.

Software to make your life easy with the user at its centre

Bringing software into the mix in the creation of phone cases means there is a fundamentally different question driving design.  The question that is driving the design of Smartcases is “How can we solve the user’s problems?”.

The user has to be at the centre of the Smartcase software and hardware design. The basis of a Smartcase is about solving problems that smartphone and tablet users face both in device performance but also the functions they need.

But a solution is not just adding a function. In a modular approach you could just add the function - more memory, battery , sensors. The software needs to present a solution to complete the full experience.  Take for example the issue people face with not having enough memory on their smartphones.  The i-BLADES solution is not just to add memory. The software has to be designed so that you can easily select and move files that are clogging up your phone’s memory to the i-BLADES Smartblade.  Plus you can increase file security by putting them in a private folder. Now that’s a full solution.

Many solutions in one design

The i-BLADES Smartcase is a modular phone case and therefore it needs a modular design to its software. As new functions are added, the software needs to intuitively present this to the user.  So the software design is dynamic based on the user’s selection of problems (Smartblades) they want to solve. This avoids the issue of application and device fragmentation we all are experiencing as the world gets smart. So many different devices with different apps.  The i-BLADES  experience brings different functions together in one place.

A phone case with an improving user experience

The standard lifecycle of a smartphone case is it is at its best when you first pulled it out the box. The user experience goes downhill from that moment as it protects your phone from the bumps and shocks it might have.

The Smartcases of the future are the opposite.  The i-BLADES Smartcase software will continue to develop and iterate improving a user's experience over time.  As data comes back about what is working and what is not working the software will evolve and improve.  Something not possible for a hardware only smartphone case.

i-BLADES will be updating the software of its Smartcase continuously adding more solutions and improving user experience.  As each new blade comes out the user does not have to do anything.

Now that is SMART!!! To read more about it visit

If you want to hear more about the i-BLADES Smartcase or are interested in finding out when different models of cases become available sign up below.