Still waiting for Project Ara? The dream of a totally modular smartphone still feels out of reach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some modularity to your current handset. We’ve seen a few companies try something similar in the past, but one new case could actually give your smartphone some superpowers.
Nexpaq, which bills itself as the “first truly modular smartphone case,” will be available for the iPhone 6, Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S5 initially. There are also 12 different modules ready to go. The current lineup includes an extra battery, a more powerful speaker, an SD card reader, a USB flash drive, an air quality sensor, a laser pointer and more.
In the future, the company plans to open up its platform. That means anyone will be able to develop their own add-ons for the case. Each Nexpaq module should work for both Android and iOS, thanks to a cross-platform app where you’ll manage everything the case can do.
The case itself fits six different modules at a time. It also comes in either white or black. It definitely adds a bit of bulk to your phone, but probably no more than a regular battery case.
If you’re interested you can pre-order a Nexpaq for as little as $89 through an early bird special that includes four modules of your choice and ships in January 2016. For $99 you can even get the case a few months earlier in November 2015, though that’s only for the iPhone 6 version. The company’s also offering special edition models in magenta or green for $109 each.
Nexpaq has already gone through several working prototypes, so this isn’t just another concept design. Delays are also possible, though the company is giving itself plenty of leeway with its January shipping date.
Our only real concern is that in the time it takes for this case to arrive Project Ara could finally launch. Once Google’s modular phone hits the market developers will probably be less likely to spend time crafting modules for Nexpaq. Of course, even if that happens you’ll still have the company’s original 12 options, along with whatever else it releases later on.