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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Orange goo

Mold it

And shape it

Protection for everyone

D30 inside

All kinds of color

A huge selection

Your city on your phone

Going retro

When you need a cold one

Durability defined

Underwater

Find your bling

A green case

On the go

NEW ORLEANS--Building a rugged cell phone isn't easy, but London-based Tech21 has put serious time and effort into making it work. And at CTIA 2012, it offered a demonstration of what goes into making its products strong.

This vat of orange goo is actually a non-Newtonian substance called D30, which Tech21 licenses. It's designed to absorb impacts and dissipate the shock away from your device. CEO Jason Roberts used the mallet and axe in the picture to demonstrate how D30 absorbs strong blows without leaving a dent.

Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
On the other hand, D30 will change shape when you press your hand in slowly. After Roberts removed his hand, he left an imprint that stayed for several minutes.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
You also can stretch out D30 with your hands.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
Here you can see Tech21's various products. They range from the simple I Band on the lower right to cases with rear covers, screen protectors, and belt clips. The yellow case in the foreground is the Submariner. It will protect your handset from an accidental dunking and will stay afloat if dropped in the water. Tech21 has products only for the iPhone 4 right now, but it will expand to other phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III in the near future.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
In this photo of Tech 21's I Band, you can see the orange D30 material lining the inside.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
Of course, Tech21 wasn't the only case manufacturer at the show. Cellaris had a large booth with decorated iPhone cases for almost every taste.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
As I said, there's an iPhone case for almost every taste.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
Another vendor offered custom cases that can show your city's skyline.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
There's even a case for cassette-loving audiophiles.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
A company called Be A Headcase showed a case that includes a bottle opener on the back. You can personalize it with your school or sports team.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
Incipio showed a series of Stanley-brand durable cases for wearing on your toolbelt.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
Dry Case had vacuum-sealed iPhone or iPod sleeves that are waterproof up to 100 feet. Though they reminded me of a simple Ziploc bag, they also come with a headphone jack and a buoyant armband.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
If you prefer bling over practicality, plenty of companies offered designer cases that will stand out in a crowd.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
And if you're into sustainability, Xpressions of Awareness had bamboo cases with inspirational messages on the back.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
Amzerinc's Shellster cases include a belt clip.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
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