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iPhone case? Game controller? It's both, and it's back

An iPhone case that doubles as a controller and packs solar-charging tech is making a second go after the same project was pulled last year.


With game controller support headed to iOS 7 in just a few months, the lineup of third-party hardware is already starting to take shape.

The latest: the Flipside, an iPhone case that can expand out to add buttons and controls for games. It's also got solar cells that can recharge the case itself.

If this looks and sounds familiar, it's because the same product was pitched on Kickstarter in December though was halted before it could be completed. Nonetheless it raised a little more than $8,000 of its $135,000 funding goal. Things are different this time, says creator Justice Frangipane.

"We have gotten a few investors since our Kickstarter launch and are in a better place to move forwards," Frangipane said. "We also hired an ex-military (colonel) who is doing the electronics, who is simply amazing."

The result is a redesign that adds a larger solar cell to recharge the case, as well as slightly larger control pads.

What hasn't changed is that the hybrid case still uses Bluetooth to connect, instead of relying on a physical Lightning connector. A purportedly leaked controller design from Logitech a week ago used Lightning, suggesting the first round of cases would rely on Apple's newer iOS plug technology, which has the benefit of allowing users to operate such devices on airplanes where the use of Bluetooth is not permitted. On the other hand, using Bluetooth means the controller promises to be compatible with a slew of other gadgets, like Android phones and computers.

One other thing that's changed is that the project now needs a much smaller $40,000 to get off the ground. It also comes at a time when game controllers seem like they might actually get some ubiquitous developer support with Apple building those tools into iOS 7, something Frangipane thinks will make a big difference.

"We believe now that people are aware of Apple's position that we are in a much better place to go back into crowd funding," he said.

The retail price for the case -- should it meet its goals -- will be $99, Frangipane says, though early backers can snap one up at $60. The project itself is running through the beginning of August.

Here's a promotional video of the controller along with a few more renderings of what Frangipane's aiming for on the final product:


Updated at 9:54 a.m. PT to correct that the charger recharges the case, and that the original Kickstarter project was cancelled before the funding period was completed.