Every year at CES, hundreds of small companies come to Las Vegas hoping their product will stand out from the multitudes at the show and become the next big thing. Often the key is having a bit of cutting-edge technology or a slick design that sets it apart. But the Clip-A-Phone has none of that going for it. In fact, it seems pretty stupid. Which may just make it smart.
The Clip-A-Phone does exactly what its name implies. It's an accessory clips your phone to the brim of a hat and comes with a little Bluetooth remote that allows you to engage the shutter on your phone's camera. It has a free companion app.
The Clip-A-Phone is the brainchild of Paul DeAngelo, the owner of a company called CSS that sells and distributes a wide range of the "highest quality products at unbeatable prices," including a huge selection of "as seen on TV" products.
DeAngelo has a colorful past. He's been an actor, director, and both a movie and music producer. The role he's best known for is head counselor Ronnie Angelo in the cult-hit "Sleepaway Camp" horror flick series.
He's confidant Clip-A-Phone is going to be "real big" and says he's at CES to talk to "major companies" about doing branded versions of the product.
"They've banned selfie sticks at Disney theme parks and other places," DeAngelo says. "People get poked by those things. They're dangerous. These companies are looking for alternatives. With the Clip-A-Phone, everything's out the way. It's cheap, easy to use. And it's a lot cheaper than a GoPro. Everyone has a phone."
He may have a point. And he doesn't mind if people think it's stupid. "Sometimes things that seem stupid aren't so dumb. We've tested it with kids and they love it."
I tested it a bit, too. DeAngelo gave me an early sample -- it's not quite on sale yet -- and it works.
It's a little rough around the edges as far as the design goes. The mount itself is made in the US out of nearly unbreakable plastic, according to DeAngelo, but the remote is made in China and feels quite cheap (it comes with a lanyard to help you avoid losing it). Also, the Clip-A-Phone logo looks like it says "cop" instead of "cap."
That said, my iPhone 6S clamped securely into the mount and the clip mechanism, which has a row of teeth on the inside, affixed securely to my test cap. And when I pressed the button on the remote, the video started and stopped recording, though I only knew that after I took the cap off and reviewed what I shot.
I keep my phones in cases and it's probably a good idea to have a case on your phone if you're using this accessory just in the event your cap falls off (you do need to keep the cap on tightly). Needless to say, the fine print on the packaging has a legal disclaimer that releases Clip-A-Phone from any problems that might occur while using the product.
I don't know if Clip-A-Phone will take off. But as David St. Hubbins once said in "This is Spinal Tap," "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever." The Clip-A-Phone is trying to walk that line.