Though new cell phones get the most attention at mobile trade shows like CTIA, much of the show floor is devoted to accessories like
What the heck is D30?
Its cases , but Tech21 doesn't rely solely on rubber or hard plastic to protect your phone from bumps and bruises. It also uses a non-Newtonian substance called D30. In its "natural" form, D30 is sort of an orange goo that might get dumped on a contestant's head during a Japanese game show. And if you think that's weird, just consider how D30 behaves in your hands. If you handle it gently, it almost feels like soft putty. Press your finger in slowly and you'll leave an impression that will stay for several minutes. You can pull it like taffy, as well, and it will break off into tiny bits that will get all over your clothes.
Yet, if you strike it firmly or throw a ball of it against the ground, it suddenly becomes hard as a rock. I tried it a few times and marveled about how a sharp hammer blow barely made a dent. In reality, that's the whole point of D30. It can mold to soft touch, but it also absorbs shocks and deflects the impact away from your precious cargo. Tech21 only uses a small amount of D30 in its cases, but it's enough to make a difference.
The Impact Band
Tech21's cases come in all sizes, from a simple bumper called the Impact Band to a fully watertight case called
iPhone fans will recognize that the Impact Band looks a lot like the free bumpers that Appleshortly after the iPhone 4 debuted. But while the Apple bumpers were more about solving the iPhone 4's , the Impact Band is clearly about keeping your handset safe. Like the bumper, it only wraps around the iPhone's edges, but it's thicker and is made of a firmer material. It comes in three colors (black, clear or pink) and it won't distract from the iPhone's clean lines. On the inside of the Impact Band you'll see an orange stripe running round the perimeter. That's the D30 material resting right against the iPhone's metal side.