Snapback’s MagSafe wallet for your iPhone 12 also comes with its dedicated AirTag slot

SnapBack Slim Air MagSafe Wallet for Apple iPhone with AirTag

Designed so you can track your wallet if it ever gets lost (or isn’t attached to your phone), Snapback’s Slim Air wallet is all about giving you the best Apple’s ecosystem has to offer.

It’s sort of baffling that Apple wants you to track your wallet with the AirTag, but doesn’t allow you to track your MagSafe wallet. Sure, the MagSafe wallet’s designed to sit on your iPhone most of the time, but then again, it’s also something you’ll find yourself removing ever so often… especially when you need to wirelessly charge your phone, or if you want to just swiftly use the wallet without taking your entire phone out. By virtue of its slimness, the MagSafe wallet is a convenient alternative to a bifold, but it isn’t trackable… Snapback changes that.

SnapBack Slim Air MagSafe Wallet for Apple iPhone with AirTag

The Snapback Slim Air, which debuted on Kickstarter, comes made from Italian leather and is marginally wider than Apple’s own leather MagSafe card-holder/wallet. It’s large enough to hold 6 cards, a few folded bills, and the pocket on its front was designed specifically to slide an AirTag in, so you can locate the wallet when you’re in a hurry and you can’t find your stuff. It’s worth noting that the presence of an AirTag doesn’t make the wallet ‘anti-theft’ – the thief could easily pop out the cards and leave the wallet and AirTag behind – but it’s convenient if you’re the kind of person to use the wallet independently too (without snapping it to the back of your iPhone 12 every time). The Slim Air, as its name suggests, is a remarkably slick product that’s a perfect alternative to chunky bifolds. Its soft-shell leather design allows you to easily slide it into your pockets too, even without the iPhone.

SnapBack Slim Air MagSafe Wallet for Apple iPhone with AirTag

SnapBack Slim Air MagSafe Wallet for Apple iPhone with AirTag

What Snapback’s Slim Air does is integrate two of Apple’s services into a single product. It relies on MagSafe, a highlight feature of the iPhone 12, while also combining the AirTag into it. Whether you’re someone who enjoys having those two features clubbed together is entirely up to you, but for a small subset of people who just want a wallet they can track (and occasionally snap to the back of their smartphone), the Snapback Slim Air’s quite the pick. The Slim Air wallet comes made in USA, and is available in brown or black. It costs $55 (that’s about 4 bucks cheaper than Apple’s own MagSafe wallet), and you’ll need to buy the AirTag separately.

Designer: Snapback

SnapBack Slim Air MagSafe Wallet for Apple iPhone with AirTag

Crazy MagSafe ‘iStorage’ adds a snap-on physical drive to increase the storage on your iPhone

Sure, a MagSafe battery pack is nice, but how about some extra MagSafe storage for my iPhone’s camera roll?

Everyone knows those pesky iCloud fees can be an absolute bummer. Yes, Apple makes it very certain that you’re getting a whole lot of functionality for the price, but what if I just want to bump up my phone’s storage because I’m busy clicking selfies and taking videos on my iPhone? Designer Abdelrahman Shaapan has an idea – Magsafe Storage. Designed to resemble Apple’s newly launched MagSafe Battery Pack (although Abdel came up with this design all the way back in May), the iStorage is a nifty wireless drive that lets you add extra storage to your phone in literally a snap.

To most people, it would seem quite unlike Apple to release a product that competes with one of its other services, but then again, the iPad is constantly pitched against the MacBook by being referred to as the laptop reinvented. For a while, the AirPods and the Beats by Dre constantly competed with each other too. Similarly, the iStorage is ‘somewhat’ a competitor to Apple’s iCloud service… although it’s purpose-built to work as more of an offline-only storage system. Snap it on, and the iPhone’s internal memory instantly gets a boost. You can back your phone up to the iStorage, or just transfer heavy files to it, like a wireless pen-drive.

How would the iStorage even work in theory? Clearly, the MagSafe is built just for hooking accessories to the iPhone and chargers to the wireless-charging coil. How would the iStorage even transfer data? Well, even though Abdelrahman’s iStorage is just a fan-made concept, the real device could easily communicate with the iPhone or any other Apple device using AirDrop protocols. The snap-on feature would probably be just something of a convenience, but I could easily imagine the iStorage as being Apple’s own hard-drive… something that the company hasn’t really ever worked on.

What’s really remarkable about Abdelrahman’s concept is that it also comes in a splash of colors to match your phone. He’s been rather clever in matching the iStorage’s colors with the current iPhone 12 palette, including the new purple color-way as well as Apple’s signature Project RED edition.

While there’s absolutely no chance that Apple’s working on something like this, it’s fun to see what designers come up with. More often than not, they’re indicative of what the consumer actually wants… and I’m pretty sure no consumer wants to pay recurring cloud-storage fees!

Designer: Abdelrahman Shaapan

This iPhone 12 air cushion case provides safety + fun in one stylish package!

The iPhone 12 has unrivaled power under the hood courtesy of the A14 chip, and when it comes to the looks, it is equally good. Apple‘s minimal aesthetics of the smartphone are a style and status statement, not meant to be hidden by a thick case. You know where I’m heading now. Smartphone cases and covers provide a level of protection from accidental falls. Still, most times, they hide the beautiful design of the iPhone – it’s always a tug of war between the protection UAG cover’s military-grade protection or the slim aesthetic ones that give perfunctory safety.

Air Case for iPhone 12 is the next design evolution in smartphone cases that detours from the current design language. The iPhone 12 case conceptualized by product designer Philipp Pisarevskiy is made up of bloated cushions to absorb the energy of the fall impact, not letting it get through to the smartphone. As a result, the case sticks to the back of the Apple iPhone, and the protruding contours help hold the smartphone with confidence when taking calls or photographs with a single-handed grip. This way, you reduce the chances of the phone accidentally slip out of your hand and land on the concrete surface!

This iPhone case is a refreshing shift from the same old boring materials like leather, plastic, fabric, or rubber. The textured pattern of the Air Case adds to the lovable design of Apple’s best phone to date. It is a way of self-expression without limiting the design of the gadget, and Philipp has achieved it immaculately. My only gripe is the level of protection when the iPhone falls on its edges (there’s a high likelihood of that), and the designer can improve the design of this phone case to address this concern!

Designer: Philipp Pisarevskiy

 

Want to build your own folding phone? Royole’s DIY flexible display kit lets you experiment with foldable tech

From the company that created the world’s first folding phone comes an open-source kit to help anyone build their own products with flexible displays!

Royole has shown an incredible ability to find the right niche and pivot at the right time with their technological offerings. The company arguably built the first-ever flexible smartphone – the FlexPai – outpacing even Samsung, and their RoKit now aims at helping democratize the fully flexible display (FFD), so creatives and designers can tinker with it, building their own products too.

This means you could practically build your own folding smartphone (like how Scotty Allen’s been trying make his own folding iPhone). Royole’s even showcased an example of what they would make and it looks rather impressive. A baton-shaped device with a rolled-up on the inside and a massive camera facing outwards. Sort of like unscrolling a parchment, the display rolls outwards. It isn’t a folding phone in strict terms (it’s more of a rolling phone), but the idea Royole is getting at is that with their kit, you can now prototype something absolutely absurd; something that even Apple, Google, Samsung, or Microsoft is too scared to make!

The RoKit comes packaged in a pretty impressive aluminum briefcase (scroll for the images below), containing everything you need to bring your unique tech idea to life. The upper part of the briefcase houses Royole’s 3rd Generation Cicada Wing 7.8-inch fully flexible touch-sensitive display, while the lower half of the briefcase contains a development motherboard running Android 10, an HDMI adapter (in case you want to connect your flexible display to an existing computer like a Raspberry Pi, smartphone, laptop, or any other gadget), and a bunch of power cables for good measure.

The idea behind the RoKit, says Royole Founder and CEO Dr. Bill Liu, is to “invite every industry to imagine and design with flexibility in mind, unfolding new possibilities for creators and accelerating the development of flexible solutions in all walks of life.” Envisioned as the world’s first open platform flexible electronics development kit, the RoKit allows other creators to do exactly what Royole did with the FlexPai in 2018 – create electronic products that the world has never seen before.

For now, the RoKit is available for purchase on the Royole website in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and China. Priced at $959, it definitely isn’t cheap, although one could make the case that it’s just about affordable for being able to test out and prototype a product before you actually develop it with mass-produced flexible displays.

Designer: Royole

Radical Smartphone Designs that will give a stiff competition to the iPhone 13!

In today’s world, absolutely no one can live without their smartphones! I mean, I need mine by my side at all times, and I am quite heavily dependant on it. As we demand more and more from our smartphones, inventors and creators have been pushing all boundaries when it comes to this piece of tech! From a conceptual Tesla smartphone with an expanding conveyor-belt screen to a Harman Kardon smartphone concept with a massive speaker bump – smartphones these days are getting bigger and better than ever. This collection of innovative smartphone concepts is something all tech-heads would love to see in reality!

Industrial designer Yifan Hu has come up with the Xiaomi Mi phone of the future inspired by the brand’s latest venture into the “Alive” branding identity announced in March 2021. The phone follows the “Alive” philosophy to the core to signifying a profoundly active life. Have a closer look at the rounded body frame and the contoured camera module housing. Even the phone profile toggling button carries the same theme for visual uniformity. The device is pretty thin and looks ergonomically balanced to hold for the feel-good factor. Quite aptly, the new “Alive” themed logo on the back perfectly matches the overall design of the concept smartphone. Yifan imagines the device in wantable colors, including coral green, see blue, peppy orange, off white, and grey.

Sliding cameras on smartphones aren’t new, although Vivo’s concept takes it a couple of notches ahead. The patent shows a phone with a massive pop-out tray on the front. Within it, sits a tiny drone (sort of like the Air Selfie Drone from AirPix but smaller) with four propellers and a bunch of cameras and sensors. Fire your camera app and the tray instantly pops out and the drone takes off. A front-facing camera on the drone’s body lets you click photos (either of yourself or of landscapes) from a variety of vantage points, going above and beyond what your smartphone camera and your outstretched hand can do.

Not sure if it’s the design of the phone or the render quality, but 3D artist Giuseppe Spinelli really seems to have outdone himself with this concept phone. Spinelli’s rendition of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 sports the best parts of all of Samsung’s past phones. On the inside, it has even thinner bezels than its 2020 counterpart, a hole-punch camera for good measure, and that gorgeous vertical folding screen. Flip the phone over and it’s reminiscent of the Moto Razr, with a pretty neat secondary display, and a camera module with three lenses (a first for vertical folding phones).

Meet the Samsung Galaxy Infinite Concept (at least that’s what I want to call it…), a phone with two wraparound displays that cover the front and back halves of the phone. I say halves because the phone has a minimal parting line running through it, because the Galaxy Infinite is, in fact, a slider phone! The sliding mechanism makes up for the fact that with a 100% screen-to-body ratio (on both the front AND the back), there’s really no space for cameras… so the Galaxy Infinite concept builds the cameras into the concealed surfaces that reveal themselves when the two halves slide apart. The phone comes with a single set of cameras that serve as both front and rear-facing shooters (because with a 100% display, the phone doesn’t really have a front or back). Slide the cameras out and you can either click rear-facing shots using the opposite screen as a viewfinder or use the same-side screen for viewing your selfies as you click them.

This is the conceptual Tesla C1 by Jeffrey Lee. It’s not a folding phone… it’s a sliding phone. A sliding phone with a sliding flexible screen. Part of the screen faces the back when the phone’s collapsed, acting as a notifications zone, while the remaining majority of the phone lay on the front, ready to be used normally. However, if you’re in the mood for something more than just normal, the C1 features a telescopic design that allows the phone to expand sideways… and when it does, the screen at the back effectively slides upwards and becomes the screen on the front.

At their Inno Day 2020 event, the Chinese smartphone maker revealed the OPPO X 2021 rollable smartphone concept. Although TCL and LG have been tinkering with a similar concept, OPPO has created a prototype that is based on the continuously variable OLED display technology –sans any creasing that foldable phones are susceptible to with long term usage. The magic here is courtesy of the OLED display panel laminated on top of a “Warp Track” (just 0.1mm thick at its thinnest point) that tucks the display in a hidden compartment for a compact form factor and with the touch of a button, the display expands for a larger screen phone. OPPO has filed 122 patents for this rollable technology, out of which 12 are just for the scroll mechanism.

Say hello to the Harman Kardon Harmony, a conceptual smartphone created by James Tsai that says “Hold my beer” to the camera bump. The Harmony, on the other hand, comes with a pretty pronounced protrusion on its rear, owing to the presence of a powerful 360° speaker on the back of the smartphone. Styled to match Harman Kardon’s other speakers, the Harmony smartphone concept sports a 45° grille sitting under a transparent clad that helps guide airflow to maximize sound output while also protecting the smartphone itself, almost like a case would. Speakers are arguably more complicated than cameras because a relatively less powerful camera can be made better by using computational photography, but that same advantage can’t be extended to less-powerful speakers… which explains Harmony’s massive speaker-bump.

Titled the Nintendo Delight, this smartphone concept builds on the success of Nintendo’s Switch, making it even more portable and adding a few extra features to it. The Nintendo Delight replaces the need to carry your phone along with your gaming console. By combining the two together, it becomes your go-to device for gaming, browsing, social media, and everything in between. Designer Sophia Yen makes a pretty astute observation when she points out that the Switch is already an Android device (YouTuber Linus Tech Tips even demonstrates how to run Netflix on a Switch), and the Nintendo Delight simply builds on it, adding network capabilities and a camera to the mix.

The iPhone Fold concept designed by Svyatoslav Alexandrov (for the YouTube channel ConceptsiPhone) comes in the familiar Galaxy Fold format, with a primary 6.3-inch screen on the outside, and a larger, 8-inch folding screen on the inside. It ditches FaceID for the reliable TouchID, and turns the entire primary display into a fingerprint sensor – so you can unlock your phone simply by swiping up. The lack of FaceID means a significantly smaller notch with just one front-facing camera for selfies. The back, however, comes with the iPhone 12 Pro’s entire camera setup, featuring wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses, along with a flash and a LiDAR scanner. Open the iPhone up and it transforms into a squarish iPad Mini that’s designed to be perfectly portable.

While iPhone 13 and the Apple VR headset cannot be launched in the same given timeframe – still it doesn’t deter imaginative designers from mustering up how the two products will look together. ConceptsiPhone has created a render of the two upcoming devices by Apple and mashed them together in a video dubbed iPhone 13 VR for creative writer’s delight. The VR headset is open to any imagination possible, and the folks over at ConceptsiPhone have taken that opportunity to show the world how the mixed reality headset will be like. It looks plush (after all it’s Apple) and is in sync with the design principles Apple has put in place for the headset – comfort and lightweight aesthetics. The strap looks reassuring as far as ergonomics go while the padding around the viewable area ensures utmost comfort.

An Apple Watch dock with a magnifying glass + more product designs that emerged as the tech trends of June!

June 2021 brought with it a storm of mind-boggling and innovative tech designs! At Yanko Design, it was surely an exciting month for us, as we came across an influx of intriguing designs that left a lasting impression on our minds. Each design broke through some barrier or convention in the tech world, bringing to us unique solutions, improved functionality, and immense value. From the downpour of tech designs that June introduced to us, we’ve curated some of the very best. Not only do these designs address tangible problems, but they also make our lives better, easier, and efficient in their own way. We hope these inventive tech trends impress you, as much as they impressed us!

The NightWatch is a pretty simple accessory that enhances your Apple Watch’s abilities. It doesn’t come with its own charger but will let you hook your watch’s charger into it. Once assembled, you can easily slide your Apple Watch into its unique design, and that calibrated glass lens on the front enlarges the screen like a magnifying glass would, making numbers much more visible when your watch is in Nightstand mode. It comes with a patented system that even lets you tap the glass surface to ‘wake’ up your Apple Watch’s display, so you can read the time clearly… and when your watch’s alarm begins ringing, special acoustic channels designed in the NightWatch dock’s base help amplify your watch’s audio, making that alarm much louder.

Italian designer Antonio De Rosa believes an Apple action cam is a realistic possibility in a landscape of current-gen geeky gadgets. Apple and an action cam would not be something out of the ordinary for the Cupertino giant to create. So, Antonio leaves me in awe with the Apple AirCam, which is no more significant than the AirPods Pro case. It carries a similar design language to the case with the obvious addition of an LCD screen display on the front and the big camera sensor on the backside. If you look closely, this lens is accompanied by a small Apple Watch-like screen, perhaps to click selfies and display vital heads-up information. There is a single shutter button on top to keep things as simple as possible. On the sides, there is space for USB-C and SHDC card slots to make data transfer seamless and load the camera with additional memory.

Leica announced its first-ever smartphone, the Leitz Phone 1, centered around its revolutionary camera tech. Announced at a virtual press event in Tokyo, the phone sports a familiar clean design that we’ve come to expect with Leica. It houses a Snapdragon 888 processor on the inside, and sports a 20MP primary camera with a massive 1-inch sensor (the largest for any smartphone). To complement the powerful camera, Leica even ships a magnetic lens cap that lets you conceal it, for protective + privacy reasons.

The Generark HomePower 2 is a backup battery for your home that’s cheaper than setting up a generator or shelling $12,000 on a Tesla Powerwall, it’s also classier and less noisy than those gas-powered generators that definitely seem archaic. Standing at roughly 2 feet tall and weighing a pretty commendable 45 pounds (20 kilos), the Generark HomePower 2 comes with an electric-vehicle-grade high-performance Lithium-ion NMC battery that can power 99% of your home appliances (even the heavy-duty ones). It doesn’t require installation or even a permit and can be carried or wheeled around the house depending on where you need it. Each Generark comes with 4 AC outlets, 2 USB-A ports, 2 USB-C ports, and a 12V/10A car outlet to power a host of devices, allowing you to run your home’s entertainment systems, surveillance systems, kitchen appliances, your workspace peripherals, garage power tools, medical equipment, and even recharge your EV.

The Razer BELiEF designed by creative studio Smooth Way is a testament to that fact. This cool conceptual gadget is a mouse pad that doubles as an external solid-state drive (SSD), something that no one asked for but everyone needed. This super thoughtful product design is the brainchild of designers Jaehee Kim and Seungho Choi who’ve adapted Razer’s philosophy, highlighting the use of technology for digital nomads for this fantastic creation. The idea is relatively straightforward; use the accessory as a mouse pad and when you need to transfer data, attach the cable, and it’s all done. Then, when it is time to take the data home from your office, wrap up the mouse pad, and you’re good to go. Portability is the key here as BELiEF offers lighting fast data transfer speeds and maximum space utilization on your work desk.

AIO Phone-Book with Detachable Smartphone Trackpad

AIO Phone-Book with Detachable Smartphone Trackpad

A winner of the Spark Design Award (probably for sheer far-fetched futurism), the AIO Phone-book comes from the mind of Kylin Wu, a Shenzhen-based Industrial Designer. Objectively, without looking back at what laptops have been like for the past decade, the AIO Phone-book makes a pretty common observation. The trackpad has a touch-sensitive surface, and so does the phone… so why don’t they both exist together as a single device? The AIO Phone-book comes with a smartphone that sits flush against its keyboard, with a screen that serves as a trackpad + mini-tablet. When docked in place, the smartphone acts as an auxiliary device for the laptop, allowing you to use its screen as a numpad, control center, and trackpad. Detach it, and you’ve got yourself a smartphone that can be used independently as its own device, or as a mouse for your laptop.

The SwitchBot Curtain appeared somewhere on my Instagram feed a week ago, and I scrolled right past it, paused, and scrolled right back just to get a better look. Here’s a product that’s perfect for lazy people, for technologically inclined people, for elderly people, and for people who prioritize home security. What’s the SwitchBot Curtain? Well, it’s a Kickstarter success story, but more specifically, it’s a tiny smart robot that sits on your curtain rod, and can push or pull open your curtains for you using simple voice commands, or better still, your alarm clock.

The silver lining with the Satechi Stand & Hub for Mac mini with SSD enclosure is the matching design and silver finish – reminiscent of the 2020 M1 Mac mini. However, it is sized exactly like the Mac mini and looks a natural extension for Apple’s smallest desktop computer. This useful accessory for your Apple ecosystem increases the Mac mini’s storage without the need to depend on an external hard drive courtesy of the M.2 SATA SSD enclosure. Plug it into the USB-C port, and you get additional ports in one simplified hub. This accessory has three USB-C 3.0 ports (5Gbps), USB-C data port (5Gbps), SD and microSD card readers (104Mbps), and a 3.5mm headphone jack too.

Meet the Apple glass concept that pays homage to Steve Jobs’s favorite pair of prescription glasses – the Lunor Classic PP. The Apple co-founder was obsessed with this eyewear ever since he got influenced by the ways of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – who shaped up Steve’s very thought process. After the turmoil of being fired by the board of Apple, he got the pair of circular wire-rim glasses to emulate his hero and ultimately returned stronger than ever as the CEO of Apple. Later on, Steve switched to the rimless brand Lunor Ideal i 380. Combine that iconic piece of historical magnificence with the brewing rumors of the Apple AR eyeglasses, and it makes for a perfect case. Yes, this concept by Antonio makes even more sense since the world is expecting the augmented reality glasses by Apple to be announced as soon as this year. Having them in the Lunor Classic PP theme will be the apt strategy to send every Apple fan into overdrive!

In its closed format, the FunKey S is about as small as a Tile tracker, or better still a Game Boy cartridge. Designed to emulate the Game Boy experience, the FunKey S comes pre-loaded with a whole bunch of favorite titles for endless hours of retro entertainment. It’s tiny enough to fit on your keychain, lightweight enough to be carried everywhere, and satisfyingly just like the real deal, except smaller. Oh, and it comes in a transparent color-way too, taking you back to those good-old days!

Apple’s ‘Camel Hump’ battery pack is back… this time in a wireless MagSafe avatar

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

You know how they say you need to learn to walk before you can learn to run? Somehow Apple’s 2015 ‘Camel Hump’ Smart Battery Case for the iPhone makes complete sense to me now. Back in 2015, it was the ‘butt’ of many a joke, as people called it all sorts of things (even comparing it to Kim Kardashian’s internet-breaking 2014 Vogue magazine cover), now it feels like it was paving the way for something greater… the MagSafe Battery Pack!

Simply put, the MagSafe Battery Pack is a neat, wireless power-bank that snaps right onto your iPhone 12-series smartphone, relying on the MagSafe feature to hold it in place while it replenishes your battery. It’s a slick, white, pocket-friendly accessory that works without needing cables or even needing to be switched on. It’s perhaps the most elegant way to charge your iPhone while on the go, and given that it comes from Apple, it just ties well into the company’s ecosystem of products.

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

The MagSafe Battery pack comes in white with a subtle gray Apple logo on it (since it blocks the logo on your iPhone when it snaps on). It comes with a 1460 mAh battery on the inside (that can juice your iPhone up to 50%) and supplies power to your iPhone at a less-than-impressive 5W. The battery pack itself charges via a lightning port at its base and supports pass-through charging too, so you can simultaneously charge the wireless battery pack as well as your iPhone. Apple’s software cleverly manages the power delivery to both the devices, and when plugged in, bumps up the power supply to 15W-20W (depending on your charger), resulting in a faster charge. Given that it’s ultimately an Apple accessory, you can see your MagSafe Battery Pack’s overall battery level on your iPhone too (just like with other Apple products like the AirPods and Watch).

The product doesn’t come cheap, though. Apple’s priced it at $99 which seems like a lot for a 1460 mAh wireless battery pack… especially considering that third-party companies like Anker and Mophie are selling MagSafe wireless chargers with 5000 mAh batteries (that’s enough to charge your iPhone twice) for half the price. For that extra ‘Apple Tax’, it sure better come with some great features, like built-in ‘Find My’ tracking!

Designer: Apple

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

Completely absurd patent by Vivo shows a smartphone with its own built-in tiny drone camera





What will they think of next? A smartphone that can 3D print?? (Okay scratch that, that would actually be pretty awesome)

Just last week (Friday to be specific), LetsGoDigital uncovered this rather outrageous patent filed by Chinese phone manufacturer Vivo at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) showcasing a phone with its own drone camera. Sort of like how Marvel superhero Falcon had his own flying sidekick ‘Redwing’, Vivo’s phone had its own mini-drone that could pop out on command and click photos at you from any vantage point.

Sliding cameras on smartphones aren’t new, although Vivo’s concept takes it a couple of notches ahead. The patent shows a phone with a massive pop-out tray on the front. Within it, sits a tiny drone (sort of like the Air Selfie Drone from AirPix but smaller) with four propellers and a bunch of cameras and sensors. Fire your camera app and the tray instantly pops out and the drone takes off. A front-facing camera on the drone’s body lets you click photos (either of yourself or of landscapes) from a variety of vantage points, going above and beyond what your smartphone camera and your outstretched hand can do. Given how small drones, it isn’t entirely an idea I can actually dismiss… although what would Vivo’s marketing team call it? A Dronephone? A Smartdrone? A Phdrone?!

Practicality aside, the tech isn’t too far-fetched. The drone fits right into the phone’s slightly thick body, and comes with dual portrait-mode cameras on the top (that directly face you when the tray pops out), a main camera on the front (that works as the drone’s eyes), and IR sensors on the left and right that help the drone detect and avoid objects. The presence of cameras on the drone mean Vivo’s smartphone doesn’t need any cameras at all. This means no front-facing camera and a clean notch-less hole-punch-less display, as well as no massive camera bump on the back. The smartphone is a complete monolith of glass, metal, and screen, punctuated by a charging port and a set of buttons. The drone tray sits flush against the phone when closed, and pops up only when you fire up the camera app. (I’m assuming the app has drone controllers built in too)

Now let’s argue practicality from both sides of the argument. There’s a fair amount of evidence to say that this is a terrible idea. Moving components on a smartphone are historically the first to fail – Dust gets stuck in it, components wear out, parts accidentally break. The presence of a drone would mean saying goodbye to water-resistance, and there’s also a high chance your drone can get lost or stolen, leaving you with absolutely no camera (that’s if Vivo implements something exactly like this). Not to mention the fact that it practically means the end of privacy as we know it. (Imagine hundreds and thousands of drones flying around in every public space, or worse, or a drone entering a private space).

That being said, drone photography is truly the final frontier in consumer photography. The smartphone camera is already comparable to a DSLR, so now imagine being able to point that camera from any vantage point. You could take distant selfies without selfie sticks, sunsets from inside your house, and get better photos at concerts. It’s safe to assume that the drone would have a rather small battery (given its size), but one could easily make the argument that the drone could also wirelessly charge while docked inside the phone). As far as safety and privacy go, companies could build safeguards and throttles into the drone, preventing it from flying too far from its smartphone. There’s a lot to discuss and unpack here, although at the end of the day, fair reminder – this is just a patent and it’s likely that we won’t see anything like this for at least a couple of years. It’s fun to dream though…

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth for LetsGoDigital

This concept was first published on LetsGoDigital. Click here to view the original piece.

Futuristic laptop concept comes with a detachable smartphone instead of a trackpad





The AIO Phone-book does a bunch of incredibly radical things, let’s count them down. Firstly, it comes with a built-in smartphone that detaches when you need, and docks back to turn into a trackpad. Secondly, to account for the size discrepancy between smartphones and conventional trackpads, the phone sports a rolling display that allows it to not just expand, but bend too, turning into a mouse. If that wasn’t enough, the empty docking region on the laptop even acts as a wireless charging zone, for items like your AirPods. It’s possible that the AIO Phone-book, even as a concept, bites off more than it can chew… but hey, being creative and innovative ain’t a crime, right?

Designer: Kylin Wu

AIO Phone-Book with Detachable Smartphone Trackpad

A winner of the Spark Design Award (probably for sheer far-fetched futurism), the AIO Phone-book comes from the mind of Kylin Wu, a Shenzhen-based Industrial Designer. Objectively, without looking back at what laptops have been like for the past decade, the AIO Phone-book makes a pretty common observation. The trackpad has a touch-sensitive surface, and so does the phone… so why don’t they both exist together as a single device? The AIO Phone-book comes with a smartphone that sits flush against its keyboard, with a screen that serves as a trackpad + mini-tablet. When docked in place, the smartphone acts as an auxiliary device for the laptop, allowing you to use its screen as a numpad, control center, and a trackpad. Detach it, and you’ve got yourself a smartphone that can be used independently as its own device, or as a mouse for your laptop.

AIO Phone-Book with Detachable Smartphone Trackpad

AIO Phone-Book with Detachable Smartphone Trackpad

The smartphone comes with an expanding design, made possible thanks to a rolling screen and a unique flexible hinge that allows the phone to expand as well as curve. We’re WAY DEEP in uncharted territory so let’s not try to bring logic or hardware limitations into this. While the smartphone’s undocked, the empty space on the laptop serves as a platform for wirelessly charging other devices like your TWS earbuds. When you’re done and you want to dock your phone back in again, it snaps in place and contact points on the top and the bottom of the phone connect it to the laptop, allowing it to charge (as well as potentially send and receive files).

AIO Phone-Book with Detachable Smartphone Trackpad

The idea of docking a smartphone inside a laptop isn’t new. Razer even showcased a prototype of this very concept with their Project Linda back in 2018. There’s no official word on why Razer never really took this concept forward, but a few thoughts come to mind – the most notable one being that people buy phones and laptops separately, and they change their smartphones MUCH more often than they change their laptops. Besides, it would create logistical and usability issues too. What do you do when you’re on a call and you need a mouse or trackpad? Or worse, what if you lose your phone? It’s safe to say the AIO Phone-book is one of those ‘absolutely unreal’ concepts because beyond being able to dock your phone in your laptop, the AIO comes with a flexible, rollable phone too. That’s WAY too many moving parts and fragile components. However, the idea of being able to use your smartphone in conjunction with your laptop is a pretty promising one. You could wirelessly charge your phone off the laptop (something Apple’s reportedly been working on), use it as a remote control for your laptop, an extended screen, a num-pad, or as Apple’s also demonstrated with Universal Control, use it to seamlessly drag and drop files between devices. That being said, the AIO Phone-book’s definitely one of the more zany concepts out there, although it does prompt us to push technology further and further…

AIO Phone-Book with Detachable Smartphone Trackpad

Google-inspired designs that every techie would love to see come true in 2021!

Google is always surprising and delighting us with its groundbreaking products – from the Google Pixel phones to their Nest Smart Speakers. Google’s cutting-edge technology and innovative design philosophies have been a major source of inspiration for designers and creators all over the world. And, we’ve curated some of the best Google-inspired designs that we have come across! From a Google Pixel smartwatch concept to a PixelBook Pro laptop concept – this collection of conceptual designs will have you wishing that Google transforms them into a reality soon!

The Pixel smartphone went onto redefine what a pure Android experience could look like, becoming the gold standard in the Android OS experience. James Tsai’s Google Pixel Smartwatch concept does the same for the Android Wear OS. Embodying Google’s playful-serious aesthetic, the Pixel Smartwatch concept comes in a traditional round format, and in a variety of quirkily named colors. The Android Wear OS logo displays clearly on the always-on display of the watch, transforming into a colorful set of watch hands every time you look at it to read the time. The watch comes with Google’s top-notch voice AI, all of Google’s native apps, and a heart-rate monitor on the back, which ties in well with Google’s plan of acquiring Fitbit and their entire fitness-tech ecosystem. I wouldn’t be surprised if this wearable concept were entirely waterproof too, just to fire shots at Apple!

 The PixelBook Pro concept, created by India-based designer Ayush Singh Patel (who coincidentally happens to share his birthday with Google too), is an ode to the very best elements of all laptops and phones, combined into one product… If Google is a search-aggregator that finds the best results based on a query, the PixelBookPro is a Chromebook that aggregates the greatest elements of consumer tech into one well-made device. On the UI front, it feels every bit like a Chromebook – robust, reliable, great for an entire day’s worth of regular computing, but on the design front, you’ll notice that it shares the flexibility of the Lenovo Yoga series (with a similar hinge detail), the general silver aesthetic of the MacBook line (even with a silver G on the back of the screen), a flat metal edge that’s highly characteristic of the iPad Pro (and even the upcoming iPhone 12, according to rumors), an Alcantara-fabric base surrounding the keyboard as found in Microsoft’s Surface Pro, ASUS ROG-inspired cooling vents on the back, and Bang & Olufsen audio-drivers above the keys as found in HP’s Envy and Pavilion laptop series.

Here’s a look at the Project Stream controller, a visualized concept based on Google’s patented design… a concept, if executed perfectly, that could tank XBox and PS sales, and even kill the gaming laptop industry. The Project Stream (I made the mistake of calling it Steam a bunch of times. I wonder why Google hasn’t caught onto that glaring possibility) helps integrate quite a few community features into the gaming experience too. For starters, since you’re gaming on the cloud and having the game streamed to you in real-time, you can stream your game to other people too. The controller has a chat/voice button built into it, aside from a Stream button, home button, options button, and your regular control sticks, action keys, a directional pad, shoulder buttons, and triggers.

If you’ve got Google‘s slew of products around your home, there’s a lot of information you can access right at your fingertips, from the time of the day to the weather, weekly forecast, indoor temperature, your appointments, new email notification, to mention a few. The Google Nest Clock concept gives you a display to view that information on the wall of your house, offering a better alternative to browsing through your phone, or asking your Google Nest Home smart speaker and having it narrate things in audio back to you. The Google Nest Clock concept builds on the design format of the Nest thermostat, but strips away the thermostat functions and just makes it a sleek, elegant-looking clock. With a variety of clock-faces and the ability to layout crucial information for you, from the weather to what the traffic looks like on the way to work, the Nest Clock provides the experience of having a smart display you can speak of commands to.

Chris Barnes’ conceptual Google device caters to the niche audience that needs connectivity the most but struggles to keep up with technology or to avoid the complications associated with advanced tech. The Google Home Phone is a fusion of the Google Home smart-speaker (now the Nest Audio smart-speaker) and the Google Pixel), but its spiritual ancestor is, in fact, the landline phone. Designed to be a smart device with a dockable receiver or ‘phone’, the Google Home Phone lets the elderly connect with their relatives and friends who are also a part of the Google ecosystem. Once set up, the Home Phone works like a smart speaker, allowing you to ask for help, access information, or contact people, while the detachable ‘handset’ functions as the receiver on a landline, allowing you to lift it off the base and talk to people, not just using audio, but using video too!

Waqar Khan’s renders give us a clue of what a folding Pixel would look/feel like. Schematically, it’s no different from Samsung’s first folding phone; although with significant developments made in the world of flexible OLED displays, maybe the ‘Pixel Fold’ could avoid the pitfalls of the Galaxy Fold that came 2 years before it. The renders show a clean matte body (like last year’s Pixel device) along with the presence of a fingerprint reader on the back. That particular detail could be a creative call on Khan’s part, given that in-screen fingerprint readers seem to be quite the norm with Android phones over the past year.

As we’re experiencing the eventual explosion of mobile gaming thanks to Apple Arcade, Google Stadia, and Xbox Game Pass, Elastic Force hopes to give mobile gaming its Wii moment. A series of accessories designed to bring physicality to digital gaming, Elastic Force relies on resistance training as a gaming control. In short, the more force you apply, the more control you exert in the game. Instead of simply mashing buttons together, Elastic Force’s accessories invite you to perform actions like pulling, lifting, twisting, and squeezing to control aspects of the game. Sure, it makes the game more difficult, but it adds a sensory element to gaming, immersing you more. Ultimately, you interact both mentally and physically with the game, exercising not just your mind and eyes but your body too… and the positive reinforcement of the game makes you enjoy it all too!

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Simply called Sight, this personal telescope was inspired by Google’s existing line of sophisticated electronics. A sports a robust yet minimalistic form with expert ergonomics, including a comfortable, padded viewing eyepiece located on top rather than behind the unit. It harnesses the latest tech to optimize the magnification experience including a dual-lens system with First Light Adaptive Optics (FLAO) for enhanced clarity. In a myriad of cool color combinations including their Very Silver and Really Blue, there’s also one for every stargazer’s unique style.

Prosser is back for yet another prediction/leak which he feels is right on point. It’s the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, which Google is slated to release this year… with Google’s first homemade silicone chip on the inside to rival Apple’s M1, and more noticeably, a whopper of a camera bump. I wouldn’t really call this a bump because it’s so wide and protruding, it’s practically a shelf. Like I could literally place a SIM card on top of it and it wouldn’t fall off. Objectively speaking, the band protrudes at least 2-3 millimeters from the phone’s back, making it look almost like a belt or a shelf emerging from the phone. Subjectively, it kind of makes the phone look like a criminal – serves them right for stealing the ‘Pro’ nomenclature from Apple! However, that really isn’t an indictment on the phone’s design itself, it gives the Pixel a strong new character, which makes sense because this is a new era for the Pixel.

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It’s called MoDi and it transforms your precious device from something that disturbed your sleep cycle into a sleep aid that combats smartphone addiction. Placed next to your bedside, you first dock your smartphone in MoDi. (Placed in its holder, the glow from the screen is diffused through a screen, creating an ambient light.) Engage the sleep system by using your voice. MoDi will guide you through a breathing meditation to put your body and mind at ease. You’ll begin to calm and slowly drift off to sleep. If you happen to wake up in the middle of the night, you can ask for the time rather than glance at a bright screen which could end up keeping you awake for hours. At your scheduled wake-up time, a soft LED will slowly brighten along with your designated alarm sound. It’s smart tech to kick off your day and help you wind down!