Multi-purpose smartphone cases becoming hot trend

Smartphone cases that can play games, open bottles and dispense medicine are beginning to hit the market. (Source: NPN)
Smartphone cases that can play games, open bottles and dispense medicine are beginning to hit the market. (Source: NPN)

(NPN) - New phone cases are hitting the market, and they do more than protect and look pretty.

A friend gave Christine Mango her iOpener phone case after too many previous phone failures. She loves that it does more than protect. It's also a bottle opener and a conversation piece.

"It was a gift after about 15 broken phones," Mango said. "It's funny to grab a bottle and say, 'Hey, I'll get that.' People get a big kick out of it."

Think the iOpener is odd? Then check out the Atomyzer, which sprays liquids varying from hand sanitizer to body fragrance. Creator Rahul Dharod said there are plans to make it capable of spraying pepper spray and medicine.

In this $1.3 billion industry in the U.S., CNET executive editor David Carnoy said specialty cases are standing out.

"You get these little interesting little cases that do things like have tools in them or have little extras that people may or may not use during the day but kind of can have fun with," Carnoy said.

One of the hottest trends he's seen is modular cases that perform multiple functions like a myTask.

"It has an actual insert in it," Carnoy said. "It has a bunch of tools inside. There's also one for bike tools so you can swap those in and out."

Others offer a place for headphones, memory sticks, sound amplification, or even tools to enhance photos.

And for all those smartphone gamers, a Logitech case doubles as a gaming controller. It charges iPhones at the same time.

Dharod said there has been an explosion of multi-purpose phone cases because smartphones are valuable real estate.

"We can forget everything in our house, but we can't forget to carry our cell phone," Dharod said.

But investing in a pricey case has drawbacks, Carnoy warned. Because cell phone shapes and sizes vary, a multi-use case may be useless after a mobile device upgrade.

Because some cases incorporate knives or cigarette lighters, people their cases in mind when traveling by plane.

The Transportation Security Administration prohibits those types of items. They allow small scissors, bottle openers and lighters - just not torch lighters.

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