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Skinit's SwitchPlate expresses moods with a snap

AT CTIA, Skinit shows off a new snap-on case system that's all about self-expression.

Skinit SwitchPlate
Skinit's forthcoming SwitchPlate case will let you customize your case to suit your mood. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

NEW ORLEANS--Here at CTIA, you can't go 10 steps without tripping over an iPhone case vendor.

Skinit, which traditionally offers printed stickers to apply to the back and front of your iPhone, is taking a different tack with SwitchPlate, a case system that consists of a decorated cut-out you place on the back of your phone and a black or clear bumper you snap around the perimeter to keep the plastic or aluminum panel in place.

The idea is to buy plates as a three-pack (sort of like department store socks, but cooler) and swap them out at a whim.

The panel decorations range from the abstract to the geometric, and include iconic characters such as Hello Kitty, and sports teams and colleges.

I tried a few of them here at CTIA. My favorite, an aluminum plate with a wood veneer design, unfortunately had a manufacturing flaw that left a trough where it should have snugly fit.

It also took a little commitment to dress the iPhone in the case, since you have to first lay down the plate and hold it in place while you struggle to snap on the bumper. For some, it'll be worth the minor tussle to match the phone design to their mood.

Skinit's SwitchPlate case will sell online in May and at unannounced retail stores in June or July. It'll cost about $35 for the three-pack and $15 per individual plate.

Catch all the latest news from CTIA 2012.