Keeping it Simple: Accessories That Do A Lot With A Little

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Modern devices are complex enough. Accessories can be just as vast and intricate but do they always have to be? Personally, I find it refreshing to find smart device add-ons that work well in an innovative and practical fashion, require no instructions manual and truly help make for an improved experience with whatever they’re supplementing.

Here, I present some smart accessories that work, no-frills, no bells, no whistles. Call it a product round-up, if you will, perhaps the first in a series.

Pictured is company representative, Darren Inglis.

Perfectly fit for your everyday essentials, you know, if you’re “going out for a few pints with yer mates,” said Darren Inglis, iLid representative at CES. And he’s right. As the self-proclaimed “Worlds Thinnest iPhone Wallet,” the iLid is a wallet within a iPhone case (or the other way around?)

A nice fit in any pair of pants — at 17mm thin — store some cash, two credit cards and your house key inside the case. Talk about simplifying your life, these Aussies got a sweet thing going. Unfortunately, I’m not an iPhone guy but if I was, you know iLid would be in my pocket while I’m perched the bar with some chums.

Get it black, white, pink or blue from the company’s website,

Pictured is company representative, Avid Houle.

Canadian startup, Castiv struck a harmonious chord with my inner-musician with their Smart Station and their Tab Station docking systems. Geared towards but not limited to music makers, these spring-loaded attachment arms make for universal holders for all smart devices.

Their music stand attachment gets added to traditional music or microphone stands (luckily those are somewhat universal); their tab station is even available with an optional microphone holder. They make a tripod holder, no different than a camera tripod and tablet and smartphone Side Kicks, which are placed on the stands that you already have.

The coolest, in my opinion is their Guitar Sidekick, which affixes to the headstock of the guitar, above the strings to hold your smart phone. Magically, it won’t deaden or affect the strings vibrations/sound, so you can rock out while keeping an eye on your sheet music at the same time. Drummers, not to worry — they got you covered too, with their Drum Sidekick.

Be sure to check out their whole line at their website,

You know that classic detective movie trick when the private eye puts his ear in a drinking glass and the glass up to the wall? I’m no scientist, so don’t look at me for the logistics behind why it happens, but this seems to amplify the sound (in most cases, discussion) made in the adjacent room. (That’s when he hears the secret rendezvous spot where the beautiful, kidnapped woman will be passed off to the bad guy’s big boss.)

Furthering on that audio science (I think,) is the SmartSound Case. Using a kickstand feature, it is as simple as it can get and when it comes to amplifying your smartphone sound. This no-speaker-required device passively creates a louder listening experience and negates any need to lug external speakers around. Granted it’s not as loud as some actual speaker options on the market.

It is entirely green; no electricity or battery required and there is a strap hole available for a necklace or bracelet, for on-the-go. The company has models in the works for all the most popular smartphones: Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note and Note 2. More information, found at

Above is company representative, Lyndon Park, at CES demonstrating his product with Dave Graveline on his ‘Into Tomorrow’ broadcast at 2013 CES.

Pictured is company owner Matias Brecher and representative Jen Hopkins.

Toast is a west-coast Portland-based smartphone and tablet cover company doing things a bit differently. They make stunning back covers and side bumpers from all-natural wooden pieces. Their products are laser-cut and etched on three choices of wood: bamboo, walnut or white-washed ash wood; absolutely simple and beautiful.

The company uses only renewable energy and donates one-percent of sales to environmental non-profit organizations, so you can feel doubly good supporting Toast. They have products for iPhone 4, 4S and 5, iPad mini, iPad 2, 3 and 4, and for Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone. Offering a nice variety of styles and designs, the company can also custom etch yours for an additional cost.

Find out more about the green startup and see for yourself at the Toast website,

Pictured is company representative Robert Kroupa.

The RockRah or just RAH (Retractable Attachable Headset) is a patent-pending iPhone case equipped with a retractable ear-bud holder. The full-range audio headset features an in-line microphone and is the ultimate solution to your earbud storage issues. Just simply pull the buds from their convenient holding mechanism when you receive a call and you’re good to go.

This device is so simple, it’s almost strange that it hasn’t been mastered quite like this before. Currently, it’s available for iPhone 5 and the company is working on an iPad model. Check them out over at

And lastly,Lazy Hands! Check out my feature on the awesome, simplest gadget grip on the market here: Lazy Hands.


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